(a) A communications network owned or operated by a city or joint agency shall be exempt from property taxes. However, each city possessing an ownership share of a communications network and a joint agency owning a communications network shall, in lieu of property taxes, pay to any county authorized to levy property taxes the amount which would be assessed as taxes on real and personal property if the communications network were otherwise subject to valuation and assessment. Any payments in lieu of taxes shall be due and shall bear interest, if unpaid, as in the case of taxes on other property.
(b) A city-owned communications service provider shall pay to the State, on an annual basis, an amount in lieu of taxes that would otherwise be due the State if the communications service was provided by a private communications service provider, including State income, franchise, vehicle, motor fuel, and other similar taxes. The amount of the payment in lieu of taxes shall be set annually by the Department of Revenue and shall approximate the taxes that would be due if the communications service was undertaken by a private communications service provider. A city-owned communications service provider must provide information requested by the Secretary of Revenue necessary for calculation of the assessment. The Department must inform each city-owned communications service provider of the amount of the assessment by January 1 of each year. The assessment is due by March 15 of each year. If the assessment is unpaid, the State may withhold the amount due, including interest on late payments, from distributions otherwise due the city under G.S. 105-164.44I.
(c) A city-owned communications service provider or a joint agency that provides communications service shall not be eligible for a refund under G.S. 105-164.14(c) for sales and use taxes paid on purchases of tangible personal property and services related to the provision of communications service, except to the extent a private communications service provider would be exempt from taxation. (2011-84, s. 1(a).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014