September 27, 1982

You inquire whether sales of paper bags to retail grocery stores are subject to the sales tax. The bags are kept at check-out counters so that groceries can be bagged upon their purchase.

General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 6(q)(1) provides an exemption from the sales tax for:

"[s]ales of nonreturnable containers when sold without the contents to persons who place the contents in the container and sell the contents together with the container."

By Chapter 571, Section 1 of the Acts of 1981, effective January 17, 1983, Section 6(q)(1) was amended to read:

"[s]ales of both returnable and nonreturnable containers when sold without the contents together with the container."

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that the sales tax does not apply to sales to grocery stores of paper bags for use in bagging customers' groceries upon their purchase.

Since the apparent intent of the General Court in amending Section 6(q)(1) was to include within the exemption sales of returnable containers when sold without the contents to persons who place the contents in the container and sell the contents together with the container, sales of paper bags to grocery stores for use in bagging customers' groceries will remain exempt when the amendment takes effect on January 17, 1983.

Very truly your,

/s/L. Joyce Hampers

L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue

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LR 82-90