May 6, 1983
You inquire whether you are subject to the sales tax in the following situation. You are a piano tuner. In the course of your work, you often assist customers by acting as a broker in selling their pianos. If you locate a buyer for the piano, you receive a commission from the seller when the sale is made.
A sales tax is imposed upon sales at retail of tangible personal property by a vendor at 5% of the vendor's gross receipts. (G.L. c. 64H, s. 2). A vendor is a retailer or other person selling tangible personal property. (G.L. c. 64H, s. 1(18)). "Sale" includes any transfer of title or possession, or both, of tangible personal property for a consideration. (G.L. c. 64H, s. 1(12)(a)).
Casual and isolated sales are those of an infrequent, non-recurring nature made by a person not engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property. (830 CMR 16.01). Casual and isolated sales are generally exempt from the sales tax. (G.L. c. 64H, s. 6(c)). A person selling his household furniture is an example of a casual and isolated sale and, therefore, is exempt from sales tax. (830 CMR 16.01).
Based upon the foregoing, it is ruled that you are not responsible for a sales tax upon the sale of a piano by your customer provided that your authority is limited to obtaining an offer and conveying that offer to the seller, and you have neither possession of the piano nor the authority to pass title to the buyer. The seller of the piano is not subject to the sales tax provided that such a sale qualifies as a casual and isolated sale.
Very truly yours,
/s/Ira A. Jackson
Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue