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Emergency Communications Tax


The Emergency Communications Tax, commonly known as the 9-1-1 tax, is $1.25 per phone line or per device capable of reaching 9-1-1. This tax is applied to landlines, postpaid wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). For prepaid wireless, the $1.25 tax is applied to each retail transaction for prepaid purchases. The tax is collected each month from the Oregon customers of the companies that provide the phone service, or is collected by retailers from their customers. 

Each quarter the tax collected is submitted to the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR). Once the tax monies are received, the Department of Revenue may keep up to six-tenths of one percent of the amount to pay for collection costs. Up to 2.4 percent is used to administer the State 9-1-1 Program. Then 35 percent of the amount is placed in the “9-1-1 subaccount." 

The remainder of the tax is distributed to the governing authorities of the state's 9-1-1 centers.  These governing authorities may be a city, county, Council of Governments or Special District.  The amount distributed to each of these governing authorities is based on the population served by each 9-1-1 center. The 9-1-1 tax money that is distributed can only be used towards the costs of operating the 9-1-1 center.

The 9-1-1 tax money placed in the 9-1-1 subaccount is used to pay for the infrastructure or network of the 9-1-1 system in the state, and is administered by the State 9-1-1 Program. It provides funds to pay for all the equipment and circuiting needed to get the 9-1-1 call from the citizen to the correct 9-1-1 center.

The Emergency Communications Tax provides approximately 45 percent of the total cost of operating all of the 9-1-1 centers in the state. The remaining funds needed are from local monies in the form of property taxes. There is no state money used to fund 9-1-1 in the State of Oregon. 

Emergency Communications Tax Distribution 

The distribution of the Emergency Communications Tax, commonly referred to as the 9-1-1 tax, is the final step in the statutory process in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS), Chapter 403.240. Once the amounts for the collection of the tax, the costs for administration of the State 9-1-1 Program and the amount for the 9-1-1 subaccount are deducted, the remainder is distributed.
Distribution amounts are based on the population of the area that is served by each 9-1-1 center, as well as the requirement that each county must be allotted at least 1 percent of the tax collected each quarter. These amounts are allocated to the governing authorities of the 9-1-1 centers, which may be cities, counties, Council of Governments or Special Districts. Once these amounts have been determined by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS), either direct deposits or actual checks are sent to these governing authorities. The governing authorities are statutorily required to spend these funds only on 9-1-1 operations.