Memorandum To Maryland Communications Companies

FROM:  Brenda Kelly-Frey, Director TAM

DATE:  May 1, 2016

SUBJECT:  Communications Service Surcharge

As a communications company providing landline telephone service, wireless/cellular telephone service, or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service in Maryland, you are required by State law to apply a surcharge to be paid by the subscribers to such communications service. The surcharge to be collected applies to a communications service for which charges are billed by, or on behalf of, a communication company to a subscriber of the communications service. This surcharge funds the Universal Service Trust Fund (USTF) designated to underwrite the expenses associated with the operation and maintenance of Maryland Accessible Telecommunications Program (MAT) which provides specialized customer telephone equipment to qualifying disabled individuals; the NewsLine Reading Service; and the Maryland Relay Service which provides dual party relay service to participants at a comparable level of access and quality that a standard telecommunication service provides to a person without a hearing or speech disability. The Fund is administered by Telecommunications Access of Maryland under the Maryland Department of Information Technology. The surcharge for each fiscal year is determined by the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) and the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC).

The current surcharge amount, as set by the Commission, is .05 cents per month for each account and shall be applied to all current bills rendered for a communications service in the State. For clarification purposes and for purposes of determining how the surcharge shall be applied to bills, “account” shall have the same meaning as “service address”.

Service address shall be determined as follows:

  1. The location of the subscriber’s telecommunications equipment, to which the subscriber’s call is charged, and from which the call originates or terminates, regardless of where the call is billed or paid.
  2. If the location in subsection (A) is not known, service address means the origination point of the signal of the telecommunications services first identified by either the seller's telecommunications system or in information received by the seller from its service provider, where the system used to transport such signals is not that of the seller.
  3. For wireless/cellular service, the service address means the subscriber’s billing address for the communication service.3. For wireless/cellular service, the service address means the subscriber’s billing address for the communication service.

Maryland communications companies shall act as the collection agents of the surcharge, which should be described as UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE on the subscribers’ communications bills. The affected communications companies shall remit all proceeds monthly to the Comptroller for deposit to the USTF. Additionally, the affected communications companies shall be entitled to credit against these proceeds in an amount equal to 1.5 percent of these proceeds to cover the expenses of billing, collecting, and remitting the surcharge and any additional charges.

Remittance must be made to the State of Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury by the 15th of the month for the previous month of service (ex: for January service, remittance is due February 15th). Enclosed is the 2017-2018 worksheet to be completed and submitted each month – whether or not there is any remittance. For your convenience, the worksheet is also available on our website at www.mdrelay.org, or upon request. Be sure to complete it accurately, include your remittance check, and then mail it to:

State of Maryland
Comptroller of the Treasury
P.O. Box 207
Annapolis, MD  21404-0207

Should you have any questions regarding the USTF or the State’s TAM services, please contact the TAM Director, Brenda Kelly-Frey at (410) 767-5891 or Brenda.Kelly-Frey@maryland.gov.

Thank you.​