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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 82-38: Medicine and Medical Devices: Electronic Devices for the Hearing Impaired

Date: 04/09/1982
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use Tax


April 9, 1982

********** ("Company") sells electronic devices for use by the hearing-impaired. You inquire whether sales of the devices are subject to tax.

The devices include a portable "communicator", with a keyboard and electronic display, that allows deaf persons to use standard telephones; a printer, used in conjunction with the communicator, that records conversations and stores words and phrases before a conversation to speed communication; a portable communicator with an integral printer; accessories for the communicators; an answering machine that records telephone messages on tape cassettes; and devices that activate flashing lamps, strobe lights or bed vibrators when a baby cries, smoke is detected, or a doorbell or telephone rings.

None of the devices about which you inquire are worn by the hearing-impaired person who uses them.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 6(l) exempts from tax sales of certain items having medical uses, including "hearing aids and other equipment worn as a correction or substitute for any functioning portion of the body."

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that sales of the devices for the hearing-impaired, none of which are worn by the user, are subject to tax.

Very truly yours,

/s/L. Joyce Hampers

L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue


LR 82-38

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