City of SeaTac releases statement on Comcast utility tax

The City of SeaTac released this statement on Comcast’s utility tax charges in the Sept. 9 City Manager’s Weekly Update:

The City has received several inquiries regarding an itemization of Utility Tax on recent bills from Comcast. The City contacted Comcast to inquire why Utility Tax collections was still occurring. The response we received from Comcast on August 25 in response to our inquiry is as follows:

“Comcast received notice of the City’s repealed the Utility Tax Chapter of the municipal code on December 11, 2015. Comcast has completed all Utility Tax payments to the City in compliance with the December 11 notification and removed the pass-through from the customer bills. However, given the fact that Comcast’s non-subscriber revenues are included in the Utility Tax gross revenues calculation, our yearly accounting true -up revealed an outstanding under-collection amount of $ 57,329.32 still remaining to be collected from our SeaTac Comcast video customers.

On the August 1, 2016 billing cycle, Comcast intends to re-instate the Utility Tax pass-through on our SeaTac Comcast video customers to finalize the full accounting of the Utility Tax payments made to the City. Comcast estimates this recollection to occur over 2 billing cycles and we will notify the City once complete and the pass-through is removed from the bills. Customers with our cable TV service will see a “local tax” pass-through on their bill equal to 6% of their cable television rate.

To minimize confusion, Comcast will provide a bill note explaining the merit of the local tax pass-through. Proposed Bill Note language: Recovery of accounted for under-collection of City of SeaTac Utility Tax.”

The City is currently looking into this matter further to ensure that the collection of the Utility Tax by Comcast is proper. Additionally, we are continuing to contact utilities when SeaTac residents let us know of problems of this nature. We recently addressed an issue with Puget Sound Energy, leading to credits on future billings.

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