Idaho State Tax Commission

E911 Prepaid Wireless Fee

Sellers of prepaid wireless telecommunications service must collect a 2.5% fee on the sales price of that service.

This E911 Prepaid Wireless fee ("fee") helps provide funds to support consolidated emergency communications systems.

Prepaid wireless telecommunications service (PWTS) defined

PWTS is a sale of phone service for a mobile device that's able to access a 911 system. Customers purchase the phone service in advance for a period of time, such as a month or blocks of months, or in predetermined units or dollars. There isn't a contract or commitment to ongoing service. This service is also called "pay as you go," "pay as you talk," "no contract phone plans," or "prepaid phone plans." (See Idaho Code section 31-4813(1)(c) .)

Example:

Maria buys a prepaid phone card from Xlnt Electronics for $30. She consumes the hours of service the $30 covered in 12 days and must buy additional PWTS to use the phone.

Items subject to the prepaid E911 fee

The fee only applies to sales of PWTS, including:

  • Prepaid wireless phone cards
  • Recharge or refillable cards for wireless services
  • Prepaid phone bundles (see "Prepaid wireless bundles," below)

The fee doesn't apply to:

  • Sales of prepaid mobile devices or mobile data when you sell them separately from PWTS (see "Prepaid wireless bundles," below)
  • Sales of traditional prepaid telephone cards used for landlines or payphones
  • International phone cards used for landlines or payphones
  • Fixed-line telephone service
  • Contract-based wireless service
  • Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service
Prepaid wireless bundles

You must charge the prepaid E911 fee on the sales price of mobile devices or mobile data if both these circumstances apply:

  • The mobile device, mobile data, or both are bundled with PWTS
  • They're sold for a single price
Exceptions

Don't charge the fee on the total value of the bundled sale in any of these situations:

  • If you separately state the dollar value of the PWTS on the customer invoice. In this case, the fee only applies to the invoiced or otherwise disclosed value of the PWTS.
  • If you document the value of the PWTS alone. In this case, the fee only applies to the value of the PWTS.
  • If you choose not to charge the fee because the PWTS amount is minimal, meaning 10 minutes or less, or $5 or less.
When the prepaid E911 fee applies

You must charge the prepaid E911 fee on each retail transaction for PWTS you sell to anyone, even if selling PWTS isn't your primary business. You also must either separately state on an invoice or else disclose the prepaid E911 fee amount so the customer knows you charged it. (See "Retailers must register," below.)

A retail transaction occurs in Idaho when any of the following apply:

  • The transaction happens in person at your Idaho location.
  • The PWTS is delivered to your customer at an Idaho address.

These are some indicators that it's an Idaho retail transaction:

  • The customer's address is in Idaho.
  • The customer gives you an Idaho address at the time of sale (e.g Idaho address on a personal check; credit card billing address in Idaho).
  • The customer's mobile phone number is associated with an Idaho location.

If you sell the PWTS in Idaho, you'll need to charge the fee, even if your customer has a phone number from outside Idaho.

Example:

Salina moves from Utah to Idaho but wants to keep her Utah cell number. Even though Salina has a Utah phone number, she's using PWTS in Idaho, so the fee applies.

Out-of-state sales

The fee doesn't apply to sales you make to customers outside Idaho. These sales are either of these:

  • Prepaid wireless service cards you mail to a customer with an out-of-state shipping address
  • Sales of PWTS you make by phone or internet to customers with an out-of-state billing address

You must keep documentation to prove your customer was out of state. If you don't, we'll hold you responsible for the fee.

Out-of-state retailers

If you're an out-of-state retailer, you don't have to collect the fee if either of these applies:

  • You don't have an Idaho sales tax permit and aren't legally required to have one.
  • You don't have Idaho nexus.
Retailers that must register

Retailers should already have an Idaho seller's permit. Read more about retailers.

All businesses that sell PWTS must also do all of these:

  1. Register with the Tax Commission using the Idaho Business Registration application.
  2. Collect the prepaid E911 fee (as well as appropriate sales tax) on all sales of PWTS.
  3. File Form 3950, E911 Prepaid Wireless Fee Return, to report sales.
  4. Forward the Idaho E911 Prepaid Wireless fees you collect to the Tax Commission.

Note: Businesses that only sell other types of phone services don't need to do these four tasks. These other phone services include:

  • International phone cards
  • Fixed-line telephone service
  • Contract-based wireless service
  • Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service
How to file

After you register, we'll mail you a permit for each Idaho location. We'll also send you personalized returns — Form 3950s — so you can report and forward the E911 prepaid wireless fee.

By default, your filing cycle for the fee will match the filing cycle for your sales and use tax account. For example, if you file your Form 850 (sales and use tax) quarterly, you'll file your Form 3950 (E911 prepaid wireless fee) quarterly, too. You must file both forms by their due date, even if you don't have sales for that period.

You can file online using TAP or use the forms we'll mail you.

Laws and rules

Learn more about the E911 prepaid wireless fee:

  • Prepaid Wireless Telecommunications Service Emergency Communications Fee (Idaho Code section 31-4813
  • Idaho Emergency Communications Fund – Establishment and Administration (Idaho Code section 31-4818
  • Prepaid Wireless E911 Fee Administrative Rules

Page last updated August 29, 2019. Last full review of page: August 29, 2019.

This information is for general guidance only. Tax laws are complex and change regularly. We can't cover every circumstance in our guides. This guidance may not apply to your situation. Please contact us with any questions. We work to provide current and accurate information. But some information could have technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. If there's a conflict between current tax law and this information, current tax law will govern.