The US Supreme Court has refused an appeal by Dish Network which objected to plans by Florida to implement a ‘satellite tax’ on users of DTH services from Dish and DirecTV.
The State law can now be implemented. Cable users already have to pay a 4.92 per cent tax on their subscriptions. However, the satellite levy is twice as high, at 9.07 per cent. Additionally, some municipalities in the state also have their own local taxes.
Dish Network argued that having different state tax rates on satellite and cable were a form of protectionism that violates the “dormant” Commerce Clause, which bars states from discriminating against interstate commerce.
Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal in 2015 ruled in favour of the satellite sector and raised the possibility that the state would have refund satellite companies for cash already collected. But the Florida Supreme Court in April 2017 overturned that decision, ruling that they did not find the law was “enacted with a discriminatory purpose.”