February 08, 1984

You are engaged in the business of producing and selling fine art editions of Jewish marriage contracts (Ketubot) suitable for framing. These contracts are often used to fulfill the religious marriage requirement and may be ordered either with blank spaces for the names of the bride and groom and other required information or with the data inscribed. You inquire whether such sales are subject to the Massachusetts sales tax.

A sales tax is imposed upon sales at retail of tangible personal property, except as otherwise provided. G.L. c. 64H, § 2. Sales of books used for religious worship are exempted from taxation under section 6(m) of Chapter 64H of the General Laws. However, neither section 6(m) nor any other exemption applies to the sale of fine art editions of Ketubot.

Of course, Ketubot may be sold to organizations which are tax exempt under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, see 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3), and which have obtained a certificate from the Commissioner of Revenue stating that they are entitled to such exemption. In such circumstances, the sale of Ketubot would not be subject to a sales tax.

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that, in the absence of a sale to an exempt religious organization, sales of fine are editions of Jewish marriage contracts are sales of tangible personal property subject to the sales tax.

Very truly yours

Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue

LR 84-2