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Postpaid wireless communications service supplier

New guidance documents available

  • TSB-M-17(1)WCS, Wireless Communications Surcharge on Postpaid Wireless Communications Services
  • PUB-451, Wireless Communications Surcharge Rates on Postpaid Wireless Communications Services

If you are a postpaid wireless communications service supplier, you must collect the postpaid wireless communications surcharge and file a quarterly return with the Tax Department. You must separately state the surcharge and identify it as the public safety communications surcharge on bills that you issue to your customers. If space limitations on a bill do not allow for a supplier to identify the surcharge as the public safety communications surcharge, then, in those limited circumstances, it would be sufficient for the supplier to use PSCS as an alternative to identify the surcharge. See the sections below for more information.

The surcharge is due on wireless communications service you provide to a wireless communications customer with a place of primary use in New York State. It is imposed on each wireless communications device in service during any part of each month. Wireless communications services are subject to both the state surcharge and a local surcharge, unless the locality has not enacted a local surcharge. For surcharge rate information, see PUB-451, Wireless Communications Surcharge Rates on Postpaid Wireless Communications Services.

 Surcharge rates
JurisdictionSurcharge due
New York State $1.20 per device per month
Local (New York City and counties that enacted) $0.30 per device per month

The postpaid wireless surcharge does not apply to services provided to the following:

  • Lifeline consumers (for more information, visit the Department of Public Service at Lifeline Telephone Service);
  • any nonprofit/casualty insurance company organized under Insurance Law § 6703;
  • the state of New York, its agencies, instrumentalities, and political subdivisions;
  • the United States, its agencies, instrumentalities, and political subdivisions; and
  • the United Nations.

As a postpaid wireless service supplier, you are allowed to retain a percentage of collections as an administrative fee. The fee is computed based on your total collections of the surcharge for the reporting period at the following rates:

 Administrative fee
JurisdictionRate
New York State 1.749% of total state surcharge collected
Local (counties and New York City) 3% of total local surcharge collected

Note: If you do not timely file and fully pay your return, you are not entitled to retain the administrative fee.

Form

Beginning with the return for the period starting December 1, 2017, you must Web File Form WCS-1, Postpaid Wireless Communications Surcharge Return, every quarter even if no surcharge is due.

LEARN ABOUT WEB FILE

Due date

For quarterly periods beginning on or after December 1, 2017, your return is due the 20th day of the month following the close of the reporting period. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the return is due on the next business day. 

Note: Quarterly periods ending before December 1, 2017, are due on the 15th day of the month following the close of the reporting period.

Updated: