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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 77-7: Abatement of Sales Tax Paid on Stolen Automobile

Date: 02/24/1977
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Tax Administration/Sales and Use Tax


February 24, 1977

This is in answer to your recent inquiry relative to the above-entitled matter and which is incorporated herein by reference. You stated therein that on May 19, 1976, you purchased a 1976 Buick automobile and paid a sales tax thereon of $270.00. This automobile was subsequently impounded by the State Police on September 22, 1976 as a stolen automobile.

On November 20, 1976, you filed an application for abatement seeking an abatement of the said tax. The said application was denied by the State Tax Commission on February 9, 1977.

The statutory definition of a sale is very broad. General Laws, Chapter 64H, Section 1(12)(a) defines a "sale" as "any transfer of title or possession, or both, exchange, barter, lease, rental, conditional or otherwise, in any manner or by any means whatsoever." Pursuant to this definition, when you purchased this automobile a "sale" occurred and subsequent events do not alter this fact. Additionally, under the sales tax law, there is no provision made for an exemption relative to such stolen vehicles.

Since your application for abatement was denied on February 9, 1977, your attention is called to General Laws, Chapter 62C, Section 39, which provides in pertinent part that, "Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the (State Tax) commission to abate a tax, . . ., may appeal therefrom, within sixty days after the date of notice of the decision of the commission . . . by filing a petition with the clerk of the appellate tax board. . . ." (Emphasis added).

Very truly yours,

/s/Owen L. Clarke

Owen L. Clarke
Commissioner of Corporations
and Taxation

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