Florida Court Rules Higher Tax Rate for Satellite Services Unconstitutional

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

A T.V. satellite dish.

The Florida Court of Appeals ("Court") ruled that the state's higher tax rate for satellite services than for cable services was unconstitutional.

Florida imposes the Communications Service Tax on television services. Satellite services are taxed at a higher rate than cable services. Satellite services provide programming to customers by using satellites and out-of-state infrastructure. Cable services provide programming by using local distribution facilities and in-state infrastructure.

The United States Constitution bars states from treating out-of-state commerce differently than in-state commerce. A state law unconstitutionally discriminates against out-of-state commerce if it (1) places a greater burden on out-of-state business and (2) gives an advantage to in-state business.

The Court ruled that the higher tax rate discriminated against out-of-state commerce. Satellite and cable companies were similar businesses - they both sold television programming services and directly competed against each other. The higher rate placed a greater burden on satellite companies, which used out-of-state infrastructure, than on cable companies, which used in-state infrastructure. The higher tax rate was therefore unconstitutional.


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TTR has a website that companies subscribe to and use daily. This website provides a list of everything that can be bought or sold in the U.S. It provides simple answers to whether buying or selling these items is taxable (subject to a sales tax or other tax), and it provides all the legal authority to support these tax answers.

TTR likes to keep things simple and fun, which is why it has great people who provide help to clients on any support questions they have about transaction tax issues.

Please visit TTR on the web at www.ttrus.com or call 866.578.8193.

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