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Gotta Catch 'Em All: Texas Regulation Broadly Redefines Scope of Taxable Cable Television Services

Sahang-Hee Hahn
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP - New York Office

Pilar Mata
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP - Washington Office

March 4, 2014

Previously published on February 27, 2014

The Texas Comptroller has amended its regulation governing the sales tax treatment of cable television services. The revised regulation defines for the first time several terms related to the cable television services industry; adopts a destination-based sourcing rule for intrastate sales of streaming video; and taxes “bundled cable services.” Of particular interest, the Comptroller defines a “cable system” as the “system through which a cable service provider delivers cable television or bundled cable service” and states that it may comprise “any or all of the following: tangible personal property; real property; and other media, such as radio waves, microwaves, or any other means of conveyance now in existence or that may be developed.” Texas’s regulatory definition of “cable system” now exceeds the scope of the term as defined by the FCC. The amended regulation also revised the definition of “cable television service” to encompass all forms of video programming, including streaming video, whether provided via the Internet or other technology. Sutherland submitted comments related to the proposed definition of “cable television service” prior to the adoption of the new regulation, which the Texas Comptroller acknowledged but did not incorporate. The regulatory amendments became effective on February 16, 2014. 34 Texas Admin. Cd § 3.313.


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