A few B.C. towns want to tax your cellphone corporation, beneath the Regional Federal government Act provisions for utility providers | Photo: d3sign/Second/Getty Visuals
A few big B.C. municipalities want cellphone and wi-fi network carriers to pay back a 1 for every cent tax on their income.
Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond have filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Courtroom, asking a decide to have the carriers declared a utility organization beneath the Local Governing administration Act.
The metropolitan areas are asking the court docket to make this sort of a declaration mainly because the providers are applying infrastructure — legally known as “specified improvements” — inside the municipality and producing profits from it.
These types of a declaration would necessarily mean the organizations have to have to declare their income streams to the cities. The cities are looking for a judgment for taxes owing underneath the law, as very well as expenditures.
The lawsuits, submitted Sept. 8, identify Rogers Communications, Bell Mobility, Liberty Cellular, Telus Communications, Fido Solutions, Terago Networks and Orion Wi-fi.
The three individual claims deal with dissimilarities between “traditional wireline systems” and “wireless accessibility networks.” They condition how “despite the introduction of these wi-fi elements, the carriers’ telecommunication procedure functions in considerably the exact way as solely wireline devices.”
The promises note that wi-fi and wired networks intermingle on the identical infrastructure, sharing the exact same “core network.”
And, “each of the carriers owns, rents, maintains, licenses, or operates infrastructure situated within just the metropolis,” the metropolitan areas note, having additional maps of wireless towers, fiberoptic traces and products affixed across the metropolis. As properly, the statements note the firms are using utility poles on general public land.
“The carriers are not taxed on the assessed worth of the advancements under” the law, which normally phone calls for a a single for every cent tax on revenue from “subscribers,” i.e., cellphone shoppers.
It’s unclear if the metropolitan areas have been charging a tax for wired providers, these as cable and landline phone subscriptions and this assert is an endeavor to include wi-fi expert services. Lawyers for the metropolitan areas from McEwan Cooper Dennis LLP did not answer to Glacier Media’s request for comment.
The firms have not filed a response to the statements.