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Fees and Charges on Your Bill

You may be surprised to see how many additional charges appear on your telephone bill. Some of these fees are government mandated, while others are charged at your service provider’s discretion. 

Government mandated charges (not a complete list):

  • Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP): This charge is $0.03 per line, per month. It is used to help provide telephone service to Minnesota’s low-income residents.
  • Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM): This charge is $0.08 per line, per month. It is used to fund programs that provide telephone service to people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability.
  • 9-1-1: This charge is $0.78 per line, per month, and appears on all telephone bills to operate Minnesota's 9-1-1 emergency response system. 

Charges at the discretion of the company: 

The following fees may appear on your phone bill, and may look like government mandated taxes. In fact, they are fees imposed by your service provider and not all service providers choose to charge them. 

  • Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) Also called a “Federal Access Charge” or “Interstate Access Charge,” the stated purpose of this fee is to help cover the local phone company’s cost to operate the local telephone network. This charge may be up to several dollars per month. 
  • In-State Access Recovery Fee Long distance companies pay local telephone companies to originate and terminate long distance calls, and some Minnesota long distance providers add a surcharge to customers’ bills to recover the additional cost for in-state calling. This fee or surcharge is different than the “Access Recovery Charge” (or ARC), which is authorized by the FCC, and can be easily confused with the In-State Access Recovery Fee. You can avoid paying this extra charge by selecting one of the many long distance carriers that does not charge this fee. 
  • Universal Service Fund (USF) Carriers must pay a percentage of their revenues into a national fund that helps provide telephone service to low income customers or customers in high-cost, rural areas. This fund also helps link the nation’s schools, libraries and rural hospitals to telecommunications networks, including the internet. Many carriers add a line item to consumer bills to recover this payment, but it is not government mandated and should not be located in the “taxes” section of your bill. You may also see this charge on a cell phone bill. 

If you see a fee on your bill and are unsure whether it is government mandated, you may email the Minnesota Department of Commerce or call 651-539-1879 to find out.

The FCC’s Fact Sheet on Understanding Your Telephone Bill is also a helpful resource.