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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 77-5: Meals Served by a Fraternity

Date: 02/18/1977
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use Tax


February 18,1977

In your recent letter, you inquired as to the applicability of the meals excise under General Laws, Chapter 64B, to meals served by the Fraternity to its members. Although you did not state how or what fee is paid by the members thereof, it shall be presumed that the members pay a fee, typical of most fraternities. From this fee, inter alia, the food is purchased and a cook hired to prepare many of the meals.

General Laws, Chapter 64B, Section 2, as recently amended by St. 1975, c. 684 and c. 720, imposes a meals excise upon "taxable charges" which is defined in Section 1 in pertinent part as "any amount charged for meals wherever furnished within the commonwealth, . . . ." A "restaurant" is defined as "any eating establishment where food, food products, or beverages are provided and for which a charge is made, . . ., and any other place of establishment where food or beverages are provided, whether stationary or mobile, temporary or permanent; . . . ."

From the facts presented, it is clear that the charge for meals furnished to members is included in the fee. When the meals charge is fixed for a specified time period or for a specified number of meals, the entire charge will be considered subject to the meals excise. If the person or entity furnishing the meals believes that the total charge is allocable in part, to meals, to lodging or to any other item, he may, upon application to the Bureau of Sales Excises and satisfactory proof thereof, be allowed to exclude from tax the portion of the total charge properly allocable thereto.

Pursuant to your request, enclosed herewith is an Application for Registration.

Very truly yours,

/s/Owen L. Clarke

Owen L. Clarke
Commissioner of Corporations
and Taxation


LR 77-5

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