Collection of 911 Surcharge

October 31, 2019



Collection of 911 Surcharge Required by Sellers Beginning January 1, 2020;
Collection of Local Charges by Sellers Extended through December 31, 2020

According to recently enacted Senate Bill (SB) 96 (Stats. 2019, ch. 54)1, sellers of prepaid mobile telephony services (MTS) are required to collect, report, and pay the Emergency Telephone Users (911) Surcharge on each retail transaction of prepaid MTS effective January 1, 2020. SB 344 (Stats. 2019, ch. 642)2 was also recently enacted and extends the Local Prepaid MTS Collection Act, which requires sellers of prepaid MTS to collect applicable local charges on their sales of prepaid MTS through December 31, 2020. Sellers of prepaid MTS (other than service suppliers) are required to have an active prepaid MTS account to collect, report, and pay both the 911 Surcharge and applicable local charges as explained below.

Changes in Law Affecting Sellers of Prepaid MTS

In December 20183, we informed sellers of prepaid MTS that a federal court declared the provisions of the Prepaid MTS Surcharge Collection Act unenforceable. Therefore, sellers were only required to collect the applicable local charges on their sales of prepaid MTS. Due to this new legislation, beginning January 1, 2020, sellers must collect the 911 Surcharge in addition to the applicable local charges they were already collecting.

911 Surcharge Rate


The 911 Surcharge is a flat rate of no more than $0.80 cents per transaction as determined annually by the Office of Emergency Services (OES). You will be provided a separate notice when OES establishes the rate for the upcoming calendar year. If you make retail sales of prepaid MTS in this state, you must collect, report, and pay the 911 Surcharge on each retail transaction at the time of sale, regardless of the transaction amount or whether the prepaid MTS sold is combined with other items or services not subject to sales and use tax.

Local Charges Collection Requirements Extended

If you sell prepaid MTS at your retail location(s) in areas with an applicable local charge or you make sales online or remotely to California customers in areas with local charges and your retail sales of prepaid MTS are more than $15,000 in the prior calendar year, you must continue to collect the local charges on your sales of prepaid MTS through December 31, 2020. Sellers of prepaid MTS may retain up to two percent (2%) (not including the 911 Surcharge) of the local charges collected as reimbursement costs for collecting the local charges. The electronic prepaid MTS return includes