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Letter Ruling

Letter Ruling Letter Ruling 82-95: Medicine and Medical Devices: Wholesale and Retail Sales

Date: 10/13/1982
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use Tax

October 13, 1982

********** ("Company") sells various items having medical uses at wholesale to medical supply houses and at retail to hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, emergency first aid centers and other medical facilities. You inquire whether sales of the following items to such purchasers are subject to the Massachusetts sales and use taxes:

(1) prescription drugs; and

(2) materials used by doctors in the application and removal of orthopedic casts, namely, fiberglass casting material, padding that becomes a part of casts, cast boots, cast cream, and saw blades for removing casts.

The cast boot protects the cast underneath it from dirt and germs, and serves as an orthopedic shoe that provides support and facilitates walking with a cast. The cast cream is a lubricant that is rubbed on the gloves worn by the person who applies a cast so that casting material will not adhere to the gloves.

Among the sales that are exempt from the sales and use taxes under General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 6 are:

"(e) Sales 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.


(1) Sales of medicine, insulin needles and insulin syringes on prescriptions of registered physicians and sales of insulin; sales of oxygen, blood or blood plasma; sales of artificial devices individually designed, constructed or altered solely for the use of a particular crippled person so as to become a brace, support, supplement, correction or substitute for the bodily structure including the extremities of the individual; sales of artificial limbs, artificial eyes, hearing aids, and other equipment worn as a correction or substitute for any functioning portion of the body; [and] sales of crutches and wheel chairs for the use of invalids and crippled persons..."

Based on the foregoing, it is ruled that:

1. Sales by the Company to a medical facility that is exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are not subject to the sales or use tax, if the facility first obtains a certification from the Commissioner stating that it is entitled to the exempt on (Form ST-2), and the Company keeps the records required under Chapter 64H, Section 6(e).

2. Sales by the Company to a medical supply house for resale in the regular course of business are not subject to tax if the supply house registers as a Massachusetts vendor and gives the Company a resale certificate (Form ST-4) at the time of sale.

3. Sales by the Company of fiberglass casting material, padding for casts, and cast boots are exempt from tax.

4. Retail sales by the Company of prescription drugs, cast cream and saw blades for removing casts, to doctors and to medical facilities that are not exempt under Chapter 64H, Section 6(e), are subject to tax.

Very truly yours,

/s/L. Joyce Hampers


L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue


LR 82-95

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