June 4, 1981
*********** ("Company") is a telecommunications consulting firm. After analyzing data about a client's telephone system use, it provides the client with advice and periodic written reports based on the data to enable the client to make more economical use of its telephone system. The reports for a given client are of interest only to that client; they contain no information that is included in reports prepared for other clients.
You inquire whether the Company's charges to clients for the reports and advice are subject to tax.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 1(12)(f) defines "sale" and "selling" for purposes of the sales tax as including:
"[t]he furnishing of information by printed, mimeographed or multigraphed matter or by duplicating written or printed matter in any other manner, including the services of collecting, compiling or analyzing information of any kind or nature and furnishing reports thereof to other persons, but excluding the furnishing of information which is personal or individual in nature and which is not or may not be substantially incorporated in reports furnished to other person…"
Professional and personal service transactions which involve no sale or which involve sale as inconsequential elements for which no separate charges are made are not subject to the sales tax. Chapter 64H, Section 1(13)(c).
Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that the sales tax does not apply to the Company's charges to clients for the personalized reports and advice concerning telephone system use.
Very truly yours,
/s/L. Joyce Hampers
L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue