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Public safety communications surcharge

Changes to the Tax Law that take effect December 1, 2017, impose a state surcharge on the retail sale of prepaid wireless communications services. This amendment expands the current surcharge imposed on postpaid wireless services. Counties and New York City also have the option to impose these surcharges.

Please visit Wireless communications surcharge for more information.


New York State imposes a public safety communications surcharge on wireless communications service provided to a wireless communications customer with a place of primary use in New York State.

Who must pay the surcharge

The surcharge is to be collected by wireless communications service suppliers from their customers. Examples of devices subject to the surcharge include cellular telephones, two-way beepers, PDAs, handheld or laptop computers, and other devices that have two-way wireless communications capabilities over the public switched network. One-way beepers, walkie-talkies, and medical lifeline devices are not subject to the surcharge.

Surcharge Rate

The surcharge is $1.20 per month per device used to access this service during any part of each month. Wireless communications service plans that include multiple devices are subject to the surcharge on each device, regardless of the pricing structure for the plan.

When to file and pay

Wireless communications service suppliers must report and pay the surcharge to the Tax Department each quarter. The quarters and corresponding due dates are: 

 When to file
QuarterDue date
December 1 - February 28 (29) March 15
March 1 - May 31 June 15
June 1 - August 31 September 15
September 1 - November 30 December 15

If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the return is due on the next business day.

Return and instructions

More information

TSB-M-09(8)C, Public Safety Communications Surcharge