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Postpaid wireless communications service supplier

Beginning June 1, 2021, Columbia County is imposing a local surcharge rate of $.30 on wireless communications services. For more information, see WCS-21-1, Columbia County Imposes Wireless Communications Surcharge Rate Effective June 1, 2021.

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.

Wireless communications service supplier means a facilities-based carrier or reseller that provides wireless communications service on a recurring basis or pursuant to a contract to customers whose place of primary use is in New York State.

Place of primary use is the residential or business street address within the licensed service area of the wireless communications service supplier provided by the supplier’s customer that is representative of where the customer’s use primarily occurs.

Wireless communications service is any commercial mobile service, as that term is defined in 47 U.S.C. § 332(d), as amended from time to time, including, but not limited to: 

  • broadband personal communications services;
  • wireless radio telephone services;
  • geographic area specialized and enhanced specialized mobile radio services; and
  • incumbent wide area specialized mobile radio licensees.

These services must offer real-time, two-way voice or data service that is interconnected with the public switched telephone network or otherwise provides access to emergency communications services. 

Wireless communications device is any equipment with real-time, two-way voice or data service used to access a wireless communications service. Examples of wireless communications devices on which the surcharge is imposed include: 

  • cellular telephones,
  • two-way beepers, and
  • other devices, including, but not limited to, PDAs and handheld or laptop computers, etc.

Note: The term wireless communications device does not include one-way beepers, walkie-talkies, and medical lifeline services.

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

  • Lifeline consumers;
  • 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
Jurisdiction Rate
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.


You must Web File Form WCS-1, Postpaid Wireless Communications Surcharge Return, every quarter even if no surcharge is due.


Due date

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.