Comcast has asked an Oregon state tax court to overturn an earlier state revenue department ruling that decreed the cable operator ineligible to receive tax breaks based on its pricey 2-gig fiber broadband product, according to the Oregonian.
Comcast has been fighting with Oregon state officials over its tax bill since 2009. The League of Oregon Cities estimates that the MSO’s current liability has swelled to $170 million. Comcast has made the decision not to pay any taxes until several different tabulation disputes are resolved.
One of the issues in question is whether Comcast is eligible to receive a tax break based on legislation passed in 2015, which offers breaks to operators of gigabit broadband services. Comcast isn’t offering its new DOCSIS 3.1-powered services in Oregon just yet, but the MSO believes its fiber-based 2-gig product, available in select areas, qualifies it for the tax break.
Oregon state officials say the fiber service costs consumers around $4,600 for the first year and is too expensive to qualify for the discount. This was the foundation of the May ruling against Comcast put forth by the Oregon Department of Revenue, which the MSO is now disputing in tax court.
Comcast reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment.
But Comcast’s issues in Oregon run even deeper.
The MSO unsuccessfully waged a battle that went all the way to the state supreme court over so-called central assessment, which factors in intangible assets into Comcast’s tax liability, such as the value of its cable TV franchises in the state.
Comcast also refused to run adds for Measure 97, which would have expanded the state’s tax collection wherewithal on out-of-state companies like Comcast.