DID YOU KNOW? Communications Taxes and Fees Practice


Over the years, many clients have come to know The CommLaw Group as the law firm they turn to first, whenever a regulatory issue arises.  We‘ve become trusted advisors on all matters regulatory, whether before the Federal Communications Commission or the multitude of state & local governmental agencies with jurisdiction over your communications business.  We appreciate your loyalty, faith, and trust in our expert professional guidance in these areas.

But did you know we are more than just a regulatory law firm?

Through a series of e-mail advisories The CommLaw Group will be introducing you some of our other, lesser known Practice Areas, competencies and skills.  We will also introduce you to the distinguished professionals leading these Practice Areas and share with you representative examples of our many achievements assisting clients with legal matters outside our traditional regulatory core.  We hope you‘ll be pleasantly surprised by the breadth and depth of our firm‘s experience.

Take a moment to learn about our firm’s Communications Taxes and Regulatory Fees Practice!


Our firm‘s Communications Taxes and Fees Practice provides clients experienced counsel on a wide-variety of federal, state and local taxes, including sales, use, excise and transaction taxes, 911/E911 fees, and other “tax-like” fees applicable to communications services and products.  Our lawyers regularly engage in communications tax planning, compliance, risk analysis and mitigation, audit avoidance strategies, audit defense and litigation, rulings, and technical advice.

As you know, traditional switch-based “telecommunications services” and products have been a vital source of tax revenue for federal, state and local tax authorities.  Communications through “enhanced” or “information” services (such as the Internet and other database-centric and IP offerings), on the other hand, have largely developed in a relatively tax-free environment. Increasingly, however, modern day communications services are becoming hybrid in nature, involving a mix of basic “telecommunications” components and “enhanced/information” services and products. The convergence of these two worlds of taxable and tax-exempt services into unified products has caused a great deal of confusion and uncertainty for companies seeking to ensure compliance with applicable tax laws, regulations and rulings.

The lawyers in our firm‘s Communications Taxes and Fees practice group can help guide clients towards optimal solutions and offer professional assistance with regard to a wide variety of complex tax and regulatory fee issues, for example:

  • Sales, Use and Telecom transaction taxes; excise taxes– federal and state
  • 911/E-911 for VoIP, wireless & switched telecommunications
  • Universal service funds, relay services funds, regulatory fees–federal and state
  • Supply chain enforcement & tax exemptions– strategies, planning, development & implementation of compliance programs
  • Strategic advice on apportionment methodologies
  • Dispute resolution– carrier-to-carrier & governmental (audit defense before Departments of Revenue, USAC, other tax authorities)
  • Guidance on initiatives by States and Multistate Tax Commission to tax out-of-state retailers and proposed Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement
  • Tax Amnesty programs
  • Taxation of software, Internet access, web-based and value added services

 Why might you need Communications Tax lawyers?

 It is likely you‘ve noticed an increase in federal, state and local regulatory fees, surcharges and taxes levied on your company recently.  Either that or perhaps you‘ve been contacted by a town, city, or state asking questions about the nature of your business in their jurisdiction, often the first step in establishing nexus before taxes are sought.  It would be hard not to notice the uptick in activity pertaining to communications taxes in recent months.

The unfortunate trend has been for federal, state and local authorities to target the telecommunications, Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”), and enhanced communications industry and subject providers to a host of complicated and burdensome fees and taxes.  What makes these tax and fee assessments so frustrating is the ambiguity surrounding what providers are actually required to pay.

Non-compliance can be costly.

Despite the ambiguity surrounding many of the taxing statutes, regulators are quick to seek back taxes, impose interest, assess penalties and take other actions which sap resources, time and money.  This makes knowing your tax responsibilities and options essential to your company‘s long-term success.  The CommLaw Group can help you plan ahead with tax planning and mitigation strategies, and if you‘re already in the cross-hairs, our lawyers can help negotiate more favorable outcomes by raising arguments and identifying legal ambiguities caused by the convergence of switched and enhanced communications networks.

We can‘t eliminate your tax liability, but we can make your life easier by advising you on solutions that best fit your company‘s short and long-term objectives.

It is more important than ever for you to take steps to ensure you are complying with the applicable laws and tax regulations while at the same time minimizing your liability.  Whether you are a traditional telecom or VoIP provider, broadband service provider, prepaid provider, wholesale service provider or reseller, we can advise you on your tax and regulatory fee obligations.  Let The CommLaw Group evaluate your exposure and help you establish a short-term and long-term compliance strategy that identifies each fee, surcharge and tax applicable to the services and products you sell.

Success and experience count and you can count on The CommLaw Group.

Our lawyers have decades of experience and are familiar with the federal, state and local tax laws & regulations applicable to the communications industry.  This allows us to offer targeted tax guidance tailored to each individual client — a model that has proven quite successful over the years.

  • We have secured countless refunds for communications-related taxes, successfully defended against the assessment of penalties and fines, obtained abatements and dismissals of collection actions.
  • Our professionals have institutional knowledge of various tax authorities and understand their proclivities.  Click here to view the firm‘s presentation regarding the unique tax and regulatory fee issues facing providers of converged communications services today.

The CommLaw Group is a one-stop-shop offering efficient, comprehensive solutions for the most complex tax matters

As your regulatory counsel we already understand your business, the services you provide and the regulatory obstacles you face.  Our established affiliation makes us well-equipped to provide you with the most efficient and tailored:

  • Guidance on federal, state and local communications, sales, use and gross receipt/excise taxes;
  • Assistance with tax-like regulatory fees, including federal and state Universal Service Fund assessments and 911/E911 fees;
  • Tax planning, including advice on document retention, reporting and defense strategies; and
  • Transactional tax guidance, inclusive of restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, and complex contractual relationships.
  • We also specialize in general tax consultative services, supplier invoice audits, carrier and customer bill audits and tax litigation support.

If you have any questions about the information contained in this advisory, or need assistance with related regulatory or legal matters, please contact the firm at mail@commlawgroup.com.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER: This information may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under the applicable law and ethical rules. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers

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