March 26, 1981
*********** ("Company") is an out-of-state corporation engaged in the business of renting television sets to hospital patients. It intends to begin doing business in a Massachusetts hospital. A set will be installed for every bed in the hospital; patients who wish to rent the sets will be billed directly by the Company on a periodic basis.
You inquire whether charges for rental of television sets at the Massachusetts hospital will be subject to the sales tax.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 2 imposes an excise on sales at retail of tangible personal property in the Commonwealth. "Sale" is defined in Chapter 64H, Section 1(12) as including
"[a]ny transfer of title or possession, or both, exchange, barter, lease, rental, conditional or otherwise, of tangible personal property for a consideration, in any manner or by any means whatsoever."
Section 1(13) of Chapter 64H provides that "sale at retail" does not include "personal service transactions which involve no sale or which involve sales as inconsequential elements for which no separate charges are made;" but under Section 1(14)(b) any amount paid for any services that are a part of a sale must be included in the "sales price" on which the tax is based.
Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that the Company's charges for the rental of television sets to hospital patients will be subject to tax.
Very truly yours,
/s/L. Joyce Hampers
L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue
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LR 81-26