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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 81-98: Word Processing

Date: 11/12/1981
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use Tax


November 12, 1981

********** ("Company") is engaged in the business of typing resumes, reports and letters for its customers on a word processing machine located at the Company's business premises. The customer brings in a draft of the item to be typed, and the Company prepares a finished typed copy for the customer.

The Company does not advise customers concerning the format or contents of the material to be typed.

The Company charges its customers at an hourly rate based on the time spent by the operator of the word processing machine in preparing the finished typed copy (including time spent preparing preliminary versions from which corrections are made and time spent in actually making corrections).

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 2 imposes a sales tax on sales at retail of tangible personal property. A sale includes "[a] transfer for a consideration of the title or possession of tangible personal property which has been produced, fabricated or printed to the special order of the customer, or of any publication." (G.L. c. 64H, s. 1(12)(e)).

Section 1(14) of Chapter 64H provides that any amount paid for any services that are a part of a sale must be included in determining the sales price, and that no deduction may be taken on account of the cost of materials used, labor or service cost, or other expenses. On the other hand, Section 1(13)(c) of Chapter 64H excludes from the definition of "sale at retail" personal service transactions which involve no sale or which involve sales as inconsequential elements for which no separate charges are made.

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that the Company's charges for typing resumes, reports and letters are not subject to the sales tax. The Company is the consumer of the paper and other materials it uses in the conduct of its business; it must pay the sales tax on its purchases of such materials.

Very truly yours,

/s/L. Joyce Hampers

L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue



LR 81-98

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