By Robert P. Merten III and Open Weaver Banks

The Oklahoma Tax Commission determined in a letter ruling that certain sales of background music are subject to Oklahoma state sales tax. The Commission was asked to provide written guidance on whether state sales tax would apply to the provision of background music to customers paying monthly fees for the music, either via satellite stream to a receiver, or via music disc or Internet download to a music player. The Commission determined that to the extent the transmission of music itself is not tangible (i.e., via satellite stream or Internet download), and the monthly fees associated with the music delivery are separately stated from the sale or lease of any tangible personal property, the fees paid by the customer for such music are not subject to Oklahoma sales tax. On the other hand, the Commission ruled that charges for the sale or lease of any tangible receiving equipment, music players or music discs are subject to Oklahoma sales tax. Therefore, although the background music may not be the primary focus to its audience, it is still a taxable focus for the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma Tax Commission Letter Ruling LR-14-008 (May 18, 2014).