Information Release

ST 1995-03 - Cable TV Companies - UPDATED November, 2004
Supersedes Information Release Dated November, 1995

For sales and use tax purposes, the Department of Taxation considers companies that provide cable TV service to be rendering a public utility service, as defined in Section 5739.01(P) of the Ohio Revised Code. As such, they may claim exemption from payment of sales or use tax, under Section 5739.02(43)(a) of the Revised Code, on the purchase of items “used directly in the rendition of a public utility service.” Tangible personal property qualifies for this exemption if it is or is to be incorporated into and will become a part of the utility’s production, transmission, or distribution system. Items exempted include, but are not limited to:

1. Coaxial cable
2. Fiber optic cable
3. Satellite dish receivers
4. Transmitting equipment
5. Signal boosting equipment
6. Repair and installation tools and equipment
7. Specially designed and equipped motor vehicles used in the repair and maintenance of the production, transmission, or distribution system.

By law, tangible personal property that is or is to be incorporated into real property is not entitled to the exemption.

“Pole rental” or “attachment charge” is an amount cable TV companies pay to telephone or electric companies for the right to attach cable to existing utility poles. The Department of Taxation previously determined that the pole rental charges are not sales since the cable TV companies do not exercise sufficient control over the utility poles. Therefore, no sales or use tax would be due on the amounts charged for pole rental or “attachment charges.”

Currently, cable TV companies provide a service (one-way audit and video programming) that is not subject to Ohio sales tax. However, the sale or rental of tangible personal property (such as converter boxes and remote channel selectors) is subject to sales tax. Cable TV companies must separate the service charges from the sale or rental (including any labor charges related to the installation of the items being sold or rented) of tangible personal property and charge tax accordingly.

Cable TV companies that provide telecommunication services [as defined in Section 5739.01 (AA) of the Ohio Revised Code] would be required to collect Ohio sales tax on these telecommunication service charges.

*** SPECIAL NOTES ***

Companies that provide wireless TV transmission (i.e., direct to home satellite transmissions or other broadcast signals that are received by the customer through an antenna or dish apparatus) are NOT considered to be public utilities. They are NOT entitled to an exception on purchased equipment and supplies described in paragraph one above.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, contact one of our Taxpayer Services Centers at 1-888-405-4039, or e-mail us through our website at tax.ohio.gov.

OHIO RELAY SERVICE FOR THE
HEARING AND SPEECH IMPAIRED
Telephone: 1-800-750-0750