March 5, 1984
Your client is a religious organization that sells (1) printed religious matter; and (2) religious lectures and "bible studies" on audio cassettes. You inquire whether these sales are subject to the sales tax.
The religious organization is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code ("Code"). The cassettes it sells are recordings of religious radio broadcasts produced by the organization and of "bible studies" conducted by the organization.
The printed material includes pamphlets, small books of religious teachings, and the Bible. None of the printed material is published by the organization.
General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 6(m) provides an exemption from the sales tax for sales of newspapers, magazines, books required for instructional purposes in educational institutions, and books used for religious worship. Section 6(m) also exempts sales of publications of any corporation, foundation, organization or institution described in Chapter 64H, Section 6(e), that is, a corporation, foundation, organization or institution which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code and which has first obtained a Certificate of Exemption from the Commissioner.
Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that:
1. Sales by the organization of audio cassettes on which religious lectures and bible studies are recorded are subject to the sales tax.
2. Sales by the organization of newspapers and magazines are exempt from the sales tax. You do not supply sufficient information to support a determination whether any of the printed matter sold by the organization is a newspaper or magazine within this rule.
3. Sales by the organization of the Bible and other books used for religious worship are exempt from the sales tax; sales by the organization of other religious books are subject to tax.
Very truly yours
/s/Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue