[Request for Decision Concerning the Propriety of Paying Emergency Number Service Fee]

B-215735: Jul 1, 1985

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

An authorized certifying officer of the General Services Administration (GSA) requested a decision on the propriety of paying a 9-1-1 emergency number service fee. GAO noted that: (1) the 9-1-1 Emergency Number Act provides that every billed service user is liable for any fee imposed; (2) the local telephone company's responsibility clearly limits the utility's role to a collection agent; and (3) the service fee is a vendee tax imposed by a local government under state law on a class of residents who receive certain emergency services. GAO found that: (1) since the 9-1-1 emergency service fee is a vendee tax, it falls directly on the United States as the user of telephone services; (2) there is a constitutional immunity from a direct vendee tax imposed by a governmental unit to defray the costs of government services it is required to provide; and (3) payment of the 9-1-1 fee would be improper. Accordingly, GSA should continue to withhold the fee portion of the basic rate charges from its payments for telephone services.

Jan 21, 2021

Jan 19, 2021

Jan 14, 2021

Looking for more? Browse all our products here