USAC Maintains Q2 Deadlines Amidst COVID-19 Disruption and Continues to Make USF Refunds Available to Double-Assessed Resellers

The Universal Service Administrative Corporation (“USAC”) announced in its April 2nd newsletter that despite changes to business as a result of ongoing efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus, it will continue “all regular and ongoing work” related to administering the Federal Universal Service Fund (“USF”). USAC receives and processes USF program applications, collects contributions from service providers, and disburses payments to eligible providers serving low-income, high-cost, or otherwise qualifying telephone customers.

Forms with upcoming deadlines include Form 499-A (2019 revenue data) which was due April 1st but may be submitted without penalty until May 1st. All telecommunications service providers must submit this information regardless of annual revenue. Form 499-Q (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due on May 1st. All telecommunications carriers and Interconnected Voice over IP (“I-VoIP”) service providers must submit this form except for those with an annual USF contribution of less than $10,000, which USAC deems de minimis. More information on de minimis status is available from USAC here.

Telecommunications resellers that have neglected to provide their suppliers with proof of exemption from pass-through USF fees may find they have contributed to the USF twice, once directly to USAC, and once through their underlying carriers.  Such resellers may be entitled to a refund of pass-through fees paid to underlying suppliers.

Resellers who have made double contributions have a remedy available in the form of USAC refunds created in response to FCC Order 17-66 both for open filing period (2019) and closed filing period (2018 or earlier) payments. The affected reseller bears the burden of demonstrating the double payment and the contribution of its underlying carrier.

USF contributions are collected quarterly. If your company has made, or may have made, a double contribution to the USF and you would like to determine if your business is eligible for a refund, please contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or 703-714-1313.

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