FCC Form 499-Q (3rd Quarter) Is Due November 1st

September 30, 2013

The deadline for filing FCC Form 499-Q with the Universal Service Administrative Company ("USAC") for the Third Quarter is November 1st.

All non de minimis providers of telecommunications services and interconnected VoIP services are required to complete Form 499-Q and report actual revenue data for the Third Quarter of this year (July 1st - September 30th) and projected revenue for the First Quarter of next year (January 1st - March 31st).

De minimis providers are not required to remit Form 499-Q, but must nevertheless complete and retain a “Quarterly de minimis Worksheet” in their files. The applicable document retention period for records related to the Universal Service Fund program is five (5) years.

Additional information on FCC Form 499s, including the most recent Form 499-Q and instructions, can be found on USAC's website at:

http://www.universalservice.org/fund%2Dadministration/forms/

CLIENT ACTION ITEMS:

Clients subscribed to the firm's Managed Compliance Services will be contacted by the firm directly regarding the timely submission of revenue and other required data. Clients not currently subscribed to Managed Compliance Services, but who require assistance preparing and filing the Form 499-Q, should contact us at your earliest convenience to ensure timely filing. Failure to remit required data in a timely manner may result in delinquent remittance and imposition of penalties. See FCC Form 499 Late Filing Policy.

Managed Compliance Services Subscribers: Clients currently subscribed to Managed Compliance Services should remit revenue information and other required data to Chris Canter at cac@commlawgroup.com no later than October 25.

Non-Subscribers: Clients not currently subscribed to Managed Compliance Services, but who require assistance with the preparation and filing of the Form 499-Q, may contact either Jonathan Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or Chris Canter directly at cac@commlawgroup.com to make appropriate arrangements and ensure timely filing.

If you have already sent us your revenue information, you may regard this notice.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

E-File System and Electronic Officer Certification Information

Electronically-filed Form 499s are not complete until the “Officer Certification” is submitted, either by filing a hard copy or conducting the certification through USAC’s E-File System. All clients wishing to perform officer certifications electronically must have access to their individual USAC E-file account.

Clients who do not have the correct E-file account information or whose information has changed since the last submission may encounter significant delays when filing and certifying Form 499s. Therefore, all clients with an existing account with USAC should locate and confirm the functionality of their USAC E-file System Username and Password as soon as possible in anticipation of the upcoming 499.

Clients who are unable to locate their current E-File System log-in information should contact USAC’s Help Desk at (888) 641-8722.

De miminis Filing Obligations

ITSPs who project annual contribution amounts below the FCC's de minimis threshold may not have to file FCC Form 499-Q or contribute directly to the USF. However, the Instructions for Completing the Quarterly Worksheet for Filing Contributions to Universal Service Support Mechanisms mandate that:

Telecommunications providers that do not file [FCC Form 499-Q] because they are de minimis for purposes of universal service contributions (and need not file for any other purpose) should retain [a de minimis Worksheet] and documentation of their contribution base revenues nonetheless for five years and may be required to provide it to the FCC, the FCC’s Data Collection Agent or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) upon request.

In addition, since the contribution factor for the upcoming quarter is unknown at this time, ITSPs who have projected annual contribution amounts close to the de minimis threshold should carefully evaluate their contribution obligations. Specifically we recommend the following courses of action:

  • We encourage all de minimis clients to submit revenue data to the firm so that we can evaluate your filing obligations every quarter to ensure that they will not qualify as a direct contributor for the year
  • All clients who report non-de minimis on FCC Form 499-A should file FCC Form 499-Qs throughout the year, even if revenue is projected as de minimis for a particular quarter.
  • Since the actual contribution factor cannot be accurately determined in advance, clients who have projected revenue close to the FCC's de minimis threshold should contact the firm to evaluate their FCC Form 499 filing obligations.

Traffic Studies

Interconnected VoIP and wireless services providers relying on a traffic study as a proxy for apportioning their end-user revenues among the intrastate, interstate, and international jurisdictions must submit that study for review to both USAC and the Commission “no later than the deadline for submitting the FCC Form 499-Q for the same time period.” According to the FCC, all traffic studies must meet the following guidelines:

  • Traffic studies “must be based on information that is current for the filing period.
  • Traffic studies must include “(1) an explanation of the sampling and estimation methods employed and (2) an explanation as to why the study results in an unbiased estimate . . . .”
  • Traffic studies are studies that are designed to determine the relative number of minutes of use related to intrastate calls, interstate calls, and international calls, and must “be designed to produce a margin of error of no more than one percent with a confidence level of 95%."

Finally, we remind clients that traffic studies must be kept current. Although the FCC has not established firm guidelines concerning the operative time frame for traffic studies, we recommend that traffic studies are refreshed annually or when traffic patterns change significantly.

FCC Form 499 Late Filing Policy

Form 499s received by after the due date will be subject to a late filing fee. USAC and the FCC strictly enforce applicable filing deadlines and rarely make exceptions for late-filed Forms The failure to timely file and accurately report revenue in a Form 499 is a violation of FCC rules and may result in a USAC audit, FCC investigation, or both. Examples of FCC enforcement actions are available on the FCC’s website: http://www.fcc.gov/eb/usfc/

Clients who have specific questions about how to report revenue on the Form 499-Q should contact Jonathan Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or Chris Canter at cac@commlawgroup.com.