March 2, 1983
******************** ("Company") is a Massachusetts word processing business. You inquire whether the sales tax applies to the Company's charges for producing resumes, manuscripts, dissertations, technical reports, and other printed matter on its word processing machine.
The Company's customers bring in the text of the material to be printed. The Company records the text on a magnetic disk, sometimes suggesting and making changes in the format of the material. In certain cases, the texts remain stored on magnetic disks at the Company's business premises for a period (sometimes for months) before they are printed, and in such cases the Company may make changes in the stored text in the interim at the instance of the customer.
The Company imposes separate charges upon its customers for long-term storage of the material, if any, for suggesting and making changes in format, and for actually printing the finished product.
General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 2 imposes a tax on sales at retail of tangible personal property.
"A transfer for a consideration of the title or possession of tangible personal property which has been produced, fabricated or printed to the special order of the customer, or of any publication." (G.L. c. 64H, § 1(12)(e)).
Section 1(14) of Chapter 64H provides that any amount paid for any services that are a part of a sale must be included in determining the sales price of property on which the sales tax is based, and that no deduction may be taken on account of the cost of materials used, labor or service cost, or other expenses.
The Department of Revenue's amended sales and use tax regulation on printing (830 CMR 64H.04) provides in Subsection (4) that when a printer charges his customer for services that are a part of the production of printed matter, such as overtime set up charges, embossing, binding operations and similar activities, the printer shall collect a sales tax on the total fee without any deduction for the part of the fee attributable to these services which the printer provides.
Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that the sales tax applies to the Company's sales of resumes, manuscripts, dissertations, technical reports, and other printed matter. The sales price of the printed matter on which the sales tax is based is the entire amount paid therefor, including separately-stated charges for storage of the text, suggesting and making changes in format, and actually printing the finished product.
Very truly yours,
/s/Ira A. Jackson
Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue
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