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Satcasters Try For Local Tax Exemption

Satcasters Try For Local Tax Exemption

The House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law is reviewing legislation to preempt local taxation of satellite radio services. Introduced by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the “Satellite Services Act” would extend a law that preempts local taxation of satellite TV services to satellite radio.
“Satellite television services have been with us for a number of years, and we are now seeing the emergence of satellite radio service providers,” said Davis. He said, “An extraordinary administrative obstacle would arise if satellite radio providers were forced to collect and remit local taxes in approximately 15,000 different jurisdictions.”
While HR-5429 targets local taxes, states would still have the option to tax satellite radio services, similar to the option they have to tax satellite TV companies.
Proponent Andy Wright, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, said a similar policy has been “vital” for the direct broadcast satellite industry, allowing DBS to “become more efficient and better able to provide new and advanced services to consumers.”
“Satellite radio is quickly emerging as a bright spot among high-technology consumer services,” said Wright.
Satellite radio is provided directly to a subscriber, with little or no contact with the infrastructure (streets, sidewalks or other right-of-way) of county, municipal or other local government, said Wright, whose association championed the exemption for DBS in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.