Background Many consumers do not understand various charges and items on their monthly phone bills. Here’s a quick reference that describes some of these charges:
911 – This charge is imposed by local governments to help pay for emergency services such as fire and rescue.
Federal Excise Tax – This is a three percent tax mandated by federal government (not Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It is imposed on all telecommunications services, including local, long distance and wireless bills.
(Federal) Subscriber Line Charge – This was instituted after break-up of AT&T in 1984 to cover costs of local phone network. This charge may appear as "FCC Charge for Network Access," "Federal Line Cost Charge," "Interstate Access Charge," "Federal Access Charge," "Interstate Single Line Charge," "Customer Line Charge" or "FCC-Approved Customer Line Charge." The FCC caps maximum price that a company may charge for this. This is not a government charge or tax, and it does not end up in government’s treasury.
Local Number Portability Charge (LNP) – The FCC allows local telephone companies to recover certain costs for providing "telephone number portability" to its customers. This charge provides residential and business telephone customers with ability to retain, at same location, their existing local telephone numbers when switching from one local telephone service provider to another. This is a fixed, monthly charge. Local telephone companies may continue to assess this charge on their customers’ telephone bills for five years from date local telephone company first began itemizing charge on bill. This is not a tax.
State & Local Municipal Tax – This charge is imposed by state, local and municipal governments on goods and services. It may also appear as a "gross receipts" tax in some states.
(State) Subscriber Line Charge – This charge is mandated by some states’ public service or utility commissions to compensate local phone company for part of cost of providing local telephone lines associated with state services, i.e., intrastate long distance and local exchange services.
Telecommunications Relay Services Charge – This state charge helps to pay for relay center which transmits and translates calls for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired people.