On February 22, 2024, a California Court of Appeal held that the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 did not provide the City of Lancaster with a private right of action to pursue franchise fees from non-franchise holder streaming video providers.

The Act regulates all “video service providers” and directs the Public Utilities

The Louisiana Court of Appeal, Second Circuit ruled that a city franchise fee imposed on a telecommunications company was discriminatory in violation of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”) where the fee was charged to a taxpayer pursuant to a bilateral contract but not charged to the taxpayer’s competitor.

The city brought a

On September 3, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada held that streaming video providers were not subject to Nevada localities’ franchise fees. The city of Reno filed a class action lawsuit against two streaming video providers, claiming that they were required to register as video service providers (i.e., obtain a

The California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District ruled that the franchise fee, including a surcharge imposed by electric utility Southern California Edison (SCE) on its customers in Santa Barbara, pursuant to SCE’s agreement with the city, was not a tax requiring voter approval under Proposition 218. Dating back to 1959, SCE has had franchise

By Douglas Upton and Andrew Appleby

The New Jersey Tax Court determined that credit card issuers must source to New Jersey all of their interest and interchange fee receipts, and half of their credit card service fees, from New Jersey accountholders. The Tax Court concluded that the Division of Taxation’s regulations required the taxpayers to

By Stephen Burroughs

The Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals (Board) has held that Netflix’s digital streaming service is not subject to the state’s telecommunications taxes.

Kentucky’s telecommunications tax regime is comprised of three distinct taxes, each imposed on the provision of “multichannel video programming service” (MVPS). The taxes consist of a gross revenues tax, an

By Derek Takehara and Pilar Mata

The Magistrate Division of the Oregon Tax Court held that for the tax year 2003, (1) Rent-A-Center, a rent-to-own operator, and its wholly-owned franchising subsidiary, ColorTyme, were not unitary; (2) ColorTyme did not have nexus with Oregon; and (3) Rent-A-Center and its captive insurance subsidiary, Legacy Insurance Co. (Legacy)

By Jessica Kerner and Timothy Gustafson

The Georgia Court of Appeals dismissed a customer class action lawsuit seeking a sales tax refund from a utility company, holding that the applicable statutory provisions for claiming a refund of sales taxes did not authorize the customers to bring a direct refund cause of action against the seller.

Fees masquerading as taxes have become increasingly common. And, as illustrated by the Iowa Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kragnes v. City of Des Moines, Docket No. 09-1473 (Mar. 2, 2012), in some cases all or part of a fee may constitute an illegal exaction to the extent it is deemed to be a tax. In Kragnes, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s holding that municipal franchise fees imposed on gas and electric services for almost 10 years exceeded the city’s reasonable costs of regulating the gas and electric franchises and, thus, the difference between the tax collected by the city and the city’s reasonable costs constituted an illegal tax.Continue Reading City of Des Moines and Residents in ROW over Franchise Fees