By Nick Kump and Charlie Kearns

The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals held that medical transcription services are taxable automatic data processing services, rather than tax-exempt personal or professional services, because of the minimal level of personal skill involved in transcription services. Under Ohio law, personal or professional services are not subject to Ohio sales and use tax. To qualify as a personal or professional service, the service provider must apply specialized cognitive skills to “study, alter, analyze, interpret, or adjust” data provided by the customer. In its decision, the Board looked to both the expectations of the customer, here a medical practice, and the transcriptionists’ duties to determine whether medical transcription should be an exempt personal or professional service. While transcriptionists must decipher different physicians’ speech patterns and properly transcribe medical terminology, the transcriptionist merely reduces the physicians’ spoken word to written form verbatim without altering the substantive content. Additionally, the Board considered that there was no specialized training required of transcriptionists to perform their jobs, no licensing or certification process that must be completed in order to work as a transcriptionist, and no regulatory authority that oversaw the profession. As a result, the medical transcription services were subject to Ohio use tax. Dayton Physicians, LLC v. Testa, Ohio BTA, Case No. 2014-3986, 09/28/2015; Columbus Oncology Assoc., Ohio BTA, Case No. 2014-3984, 09/28/2015.