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Taxes

  • Understanding Taxes, Surcharges, and Fees

    In addition to the monthly service charges billed for Plivo services, your monthly invoice may incur surcharges, taxes, and fees based on the type of service you have and your geographical location, among other factors.  Certain taxes, fees, and surcharges may show up as separate line items on your invoice.  Examples include, but are not limited to the following

    Federal Communications Program Fees

    Carrier Cost Recovery Fee (CCRF)

    A Carrier Cost Recovery Fee (CCRF) equal to a fixed percent of invoiced charges for voice usage, direct inward dialing numbers (excluding taxes), and Zentrunk usage applies to all customer invoices. It is neither government-mandated nor a tax but rather a permissible pass-through charge we use to recover our costs associated with federal regulatory fees. It includes contributions Plivo is obligated to make to federal funds like the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) fund and the Universal Service fund (USF). 

    The TRS fund was established by the FCC in 1993 to reimburse TRS providers for the cost of providing TRS services — telephone transmission services that provide hearing- or speech-challenged individuals with the ability to use a traditional telephone. The contribution percentage for TRS varies annually. The FCC recently announced that TRS contribution obligations will be extended to intrastate revenue as well. 

    The FCC established the USF to subsidize telephone service to low-income households and high-cost areas. USF contribution is only applicable to interstate revenue. The contribution percentage for the USF is published quarterly by the FCC.

    Under the FCC's rules, Plivo must contribute a percentage of its interstate and international end-user communications revenues to the TRS and USF funds. We recover this cost through the CCRF.

    Carrier surcharge fee

    SMS Carrier Pass-Through Fees

    Some US and Canada carriers levy a per-message surcharge for message traffic sent and received on their networks. The surcharge varies depending on the message traffic type (SMS or MMS) and the number type (long code, toll-free, or short code). One carrier may charge fees on outbound MMS messages and another on messages originating from or terminated on short codes, or both. Plivo’s US and Canada pricing pages show the specific fees.

    Plivo passes these carrier surcharge fees on to each customer as-is without any additional markup. In addition to the surcharges, Plivo gets charged an additional credit card processing fee for each customer recharge and payment, and we pass this credit card processing fee of 3% for the total carrier surcharge amount on to customers to recover the cost of credit card fees.

    Here’s an example of how we itemize carrier surcharge fees.

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    State and Local Taxes and Surcharges

    State and Local Sales and Use Taxes

    Almost all states impose some form of state-level sales and use tax.  The sales and use tax is generally imposed on the sale or use of the tangible personal property and certain services.  These taxes are intended to be passed on to consumers. 

    In many states, local jurisdictions also impose a sales or use tax.  In some instances, the local sales and use tax is administered by the local jurisdiction. In other instances, the state administers the local sales and use tax.

    Certain exemptions apply for sales for resale and sales to certain types of entities, including the federal government, state and local governments, and nonprofit entities.

    Plivo collects applicable sales and use taxes as required by state and local law.

    Communications Services Tax

    Some state and local jurisdictions impose communications-specific taxes on communications services in addition to or in lieu of sales or use tax. The communications services tax is intended to be passed on to consumers. The rates for communications services taxes are usually different from the sales and use tax rates and vary by jurisdiction.

    Certain exemptions apply for sales for resale and sales to certain types of entities, such as the federal government, state and local governments, and nonprofit entities. 

    Plivo collects applicable communications services taxes as required by applicable state and local law. 

    Gross Receipts Taxes

    A number of states impose a gross receipts tax on communications service providers. In some states, gross receipts taxes are intended to be passed on to consumers. In other states, the gross receipts tax is the responsibility of the seller, and there is no pass-through to the end user.

    Certain exemptions may exist for gross receipts taxes that are intended to be passed on to the customer, based on the type of entity making the purchase, including the federal government, state and local governments, and nonprofit entities. 

    Plivo pays gross receipts taxes and collects them from customers when required (or permitted) by applicable state and local law.

    Local Utility Taxes

    Local utility taxes are imposed by cities and counties in a select number of states. Certain exemptions may apply for sales for resale and sales to certain types of entities, such as the federal government, state and local governments, and nonprofit entities.

    Plivo pays local utility taxes and collects them from customers when required (or permitted) by applicable state and local law.

    Local License Taxes

    Local license taxes are imposed by cities and counties in a limited number of states.

    Certain exemptions apply for sales for resale, and sales to certain types of entities, such as the federal government, state and local governments, and nonprofit entities.

    Plivo pays local license taxes and collects them from customers when required (or permitted) by applicable state and local law.

     

  • Charging and collection of taxes for your account

    1. Why does Plivo include sales and telecommunication taxes on my invoice?

    Where Plivo is determined to have sufficient presence in a state, locality, or foreign jurisdiction, we're required to remit applicable state and local sales taxes, telecommunication taxes, and other taxes and fees on the sale of our services based on the service address of a customer. We calculate and include these taxes on customer invoices.

    2. What are sales and transaction taxes and how are they calculated?

    Sales tax is an indirect tax that's levied at the time and at point of sale, payable by the seller, as assessed at various jurisdictional levels (state and local). It's an indirect form of taxation because the ultimate burden is passed on to the purchaser even though the tax is paid by the seller.

    Plivo uses third-party tax calculation software to ensure that all taxes and fees listed on customer invoices are properly calculated. Plivo relies on your billing address as your service address for tax calculation purposes. You can update your billing address on the Plivo console.

    3. What is the Carrier Cost Recovery Fee and how is it calculated?

    Carrier Cost Recovery Fee (CCRF) is a fixed percentage of invoiced charges for voice usage, direct inward dialing (DID) numbers (excluding taxes), and Zentrunk usage. We apply CCRF as a pass-through charge to recover our costs associated with certain federal regulatory requirements. It includes contributions Plivo is obligated to make to federal funds that support communications services for individuals in high-cost areas, individuals in low-income areas, and disabled individuals. 

    4. How can I claim exemption from taxes and/or regulatory fees if I'm a reseller or am otherwise exempt from these taxes and fees?

    If you believe you're exempt from specific taxes or regulatory fees, are a reseller, a 501(c)3 organization, or are in possession of a state-specific tax exemption certificate, provide a copy of the applicable exemption certification via email to finance@plivo.com. In your email, please identify the specific taxes from which you feel you're exempt and list the accounts numbers for which you believe the exemptions should apply. If we can verify your exemption status, we'll update our account records. Otherwise, we'll contact you with questions we have. Please note that even if you have a reseller or exemption certificate, you may not be exempt from all taxes in every jurisdiction.

    5. In which US states does Plivo charge taxes?

    Plivo is obligated to collect and pay taxes in all 50 US states:

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    6. Can you provide an estimate of applicable taxes and fees for my account in advance?

    Unfortunately, Plivo cannot provide an estimate of applicable taxes and fees in advance. The applicable taxes and fees are subject to change depending on the nature of the services you subscribe to and your place of primary use of the services. Further, the applicable tax rates and laws in various taxing jurisdictions are subject to change.  

    If you have questions regarding the incidence of a particular tax or fee listed on your invoice, contact us at finance@plivo.com to obtain additional information.  

    7. Can I update my address and ask for previous invoices with that address?

    You can update your address on the billing page of the Plivo console at any time. However, we do not support tax computation requests corresponding to address changes for closed billing cycles.

    image__4_.png8. When is the tax amount charged?

    Taxes are calculated at the end of each month and are assessed on the first day of the following month. You'll see line items on your invoice for State and Local Taxes and Carrier Cost Recovery Fee that reflect the charges.

    These additional charges may affect your balance. To avoid any service disruption, we recommend setting up auto-recharge.