Friday, July 25, 2014

Software as a Service: Is it a Nontaxable Service?

Many non-state and local tax experts mistakenly believe that subscription charges for Software as a Service ("SaaS"), are not taxable because SaaS is the provision of services. However, there are many states that treat SaaS as taxable. See, e.g., New York TSB-A-11(17)S (June 1, 2011). Fortunately, the majority of states do not tax SaaS. Recently, the Georgia Department of Revenue published an opinion that the provision of SaaS is not taxable, because it does not include the transfer the personal property on a physical medium. See Georgia Letter Ruling SUT No. 2014-02-20-01. Thus, while pre-written software is generally taxable as tangible personal property in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Revenue requires that the transfer take place on a physical medium, such as a diskette or CD, in order to be taxable. Several other states have adopted a similar analysis. The mistake, however, is to believe that such a position is universal among the states. It is not.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Supreme Court Grants Cert In DMA Tax Case

On July 1, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for a writ of certiorari filed by the Direct Marketing Association. The DMA is represented by Brann & Isaacson partners George S. Isaacson and Matthew P. Schaefer.

The DMA seeks review of a Tenth Circuit ruling that the Tax Injunction Act bars federal court jurisdiction over a constitutional challenge brought by the DMA to a 2010 Colorado law that requires out-of-state retailers to comply with burdensome notice and reporting obligations that are only indirectly related to the payment of use tax on remote sales. Brann & Isaacson is tax counsel to the DMA and represents over 100 multichannel and online companies.  The United State Supreme Court accepts review in only about 70 out of 7000 petitions filed each session.

Our readers can review previous posts on this topic here.