Telecommunications Property Tax

  1. What is the telecommunications property tax?
  2. How does the telecommunications property tax affect local property taxes?
  3. What is the definition of telecommunications services?
  4. What property is taxed and what property is not taxed?
  5. How is the property assessed and how is the tax rate calculated?

  1. What is the telecommunications property tax?

    Based on a law change effective for 1998 assessments, the taxation of telephone companies changed from a license fee to an ad valorem property tax. Taxes collected from telephone companies continues to go to the state's general fund.

  2. How does the telecommunications property tax affect local property taxes?

    Telecommunications property continues to be exempt from the local property tax administered under Chapter 70 of the Statutes. Non-telecommunications property that changes use to telecommunications purposes is shifted from the local property tax to the state telecommunications property tax and vice-versa.

  3. What is the definition of telecommunications services?

    Telecommunications services is defined as two-way transmission of voice, video, facsimile or data messages, including telegraph messages. It does not include one-way transmission of cable television, radio or paging equipment. Types of telecommunications companies include local exchange companies (LEC's), competitive local exchange companies (CLEC's), inter-exchange companies (IXC's), digital subscriber line companies (DSL) and commercial mobile service companies (wireless).

  4. What property is taxed and what property is not taxed?

    Taxable property includes real estate and personal property. Personal property includes outside plant (cable, wire and poles), central office (circuit & switch) equipment, administrative office furniture and equipment, towers, antennae and supplies. Non-taxable property includes administrative computers and intangibles such as goodwill.

  5. How is the property assessed and how is the tax rate calculated?

    The Department assesses the property in the same manner as manufacturing property. Department staff assesses manufacturing and telecommunications property under the same statutory standards that apply to the assessment of commercial and residential property. The companies must file annual self-reporting forms for their property, which is then audited once every 5 years.

    The tax rate for a telecommunications property is the sum of the net property tax rates (after credits) from the prior year in the taxing jurisdictions where the property is located.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Division of State & Local Finance
Manufacturing and Utility Bureau
Jean Adler, Director
Mail Stop 6-97
P.O. Box 8971
Madison, WI 53708-8971
Phone: (608) 266-3845
Fax: (608) 264-6897
E-Mail Additional Questions

Last updated December 15, 2011