By Suzanne Palms and Andrew Appleby

The Arizona Department of Revenue determined that shipping and handling fees were subject to Arizona’s transaction privilege tax (TPT). The company sold tangible personal property via the Internet. The company’s affiliates fulfilled the orders, which included activities such as labeling, packaging and shipping the items via common carrier. The company billed its customers a separately stated shipping and handling fee (S&H fee), which included: (1) selecting, packaging and fulfilling the order, and (2) shipping the order to the customer via common carrier. The Department explained that delivery charges are typically deductible for purposes of the TPT as a “[s]ervice rendered in addition to selling tangible personal property at retail.” The term “delivery” is not defined by statute, but the Department interpreted it to mean a retailer’s actual costs to ship or deliver merchandise to a customer. The Department reasoned that since the S&H fee included a handling component for selecting, packaging and fulfilling a customer’s order, a portion of the S&H fee was attributable to activities that occurred before the merchandise was shipped. Because the S&H fee included both components, the Department concluded that the entire S&H fee was subject to the TPT. Ariz. Priv. Ltr. Rul. LR13-003 (May 13, 2013).