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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 81-29: Meals Purchased by 501(c)(3) Organization

Date: 03/20/1981
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use Tax


March 20, 1981

You inquire whether purchases of meals by ********** ("University") under the following circumstances are subject to the sales tax on meals.

The University is an institution exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and holds a certificate of sales tax exemption (State Tax Form ST-2) from the Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue. From time to time, the University holds meetings to plan alumni fund drives. At such meetings, the University provides meals, free of charge, to alumni who have agreed to solicit contributions to the fund for no compensation.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 6(e) provides that the sales tax does not apply to:

"[s]ales to any corporation, foundation, organization or institution, which is exempt from taxation under the provisions of section five hundred and one (c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and in effect for the applicable period; provided, however, that such sales shall not be exempt unless (1) the tangible personal property which is the subject of such sales is used in the conduct of such religious charitable, educational or scientific enterprise, (2) such corporation, foundation, organization or institution shall have first obtained a certification from the commissioner stating that it is entitled to such exemption, and (3) the vendor keeps a record of the sales price of each such separate sale, the name of the purchaser, the date of each such separate sale, and the number of such certificate."

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that, so long as the vendors keep the records required under Section 6(e), purchases by the University of meals to be served free of charge at alumni fund meetings to uncompensated solicitors for the fund are exempt from the sales tax on meals.


Very truly yours,


/s/L. Joyce Hampers


L. Joyce Hampers

Commissioner of Revenue




LR 81-29

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