April 9, 1982
********** ("Company") sells electronic devices for use by the hearing-impaired. You inquire whether sales of the devices are subject to tax.
The devices include a portable "communicator", with a keyboard and electronic display, that allows deaf persons to use standard telephones; a printer, used in conjunction with the communicator, that records conversations and stores words and phrases before a conversation to speed communication; a portable communicator with an integral printer; accessories for the communicators; an answering machine that records telephone messages on tape cassettes; and devices that activate flashing lamps, strobe lights or bed vibrators when a baby cries, smoke is detected, or a doorbell or telephone rings.
None of the devices about which you inquire are worn by the hearing-impaired person who uses them.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 6(l) exempts from tax sales of certain items having medical uses, including "hearing aids and other equipment worn as a correction or substitute for any functioning portion of the body."
Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that sales of the devices for the hearing-impaired, none of which are worn by the user, are subject to tax.
Very truly yours,
/s/L. Joyce Hampers
L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue
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