U.S. Supreme Court Denies Request to Review Florida Ruling on Satellite and Cable TV Services

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a taxpayer’s petition to review a 2017 Florida Supreme Court ruling which reversed a lower state court’s ruling concerning the rate of taxation on satellite services versus cable services. In its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, the taxpayer had asked the court to determine whether the Florida Supreme Court had erroneously concluded that a law cannot discriminate against interstate commerce unless it benefits purely in-state companies and burdens purely out-of-state companies. The petition also asked whether a court evaluating a law’s discriminatory purpose is forbidden from considering evidence other than the law’s text and formal legislative history. The Florida First District Court of Appeal had previously held that Florida’s communications services tax (CST) violated the U.S. Commerce Clause by imposing a higher tax rate on satellite services than on cable services. The Florida Supreme Court reversed this decision, stating that both satellite and cable television services were interstate in nature, and found that the CST was not enacted with a discriminatory purpose. (U.S. Supreme Ct. Docket No. 17-379, EchoStar Satellite L.L.C., nka Dish Network L.L.C., Petitioner v. Florida Department of Revenue, et al., 1/18/18)

Posted on March 14, 2018