By Stephanie Do and Andrew Appleby
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue addressed the possible expiration and subsequent retroactive enactment of the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). The Department advised Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to continue to rely on Technical Information Release (TIR) No. 05-8 (July 14, 2005), until further notice, to determine the taxability of telecommunications services and Internet access services. In TIR 05-8, the Department recognized that Massachusetts had not historically taxed charges for Internet access by ISPs to Massachusetts customers, but that prior to November 1, 2005, Massachusetts was not prohibited by ITFA from taxing telecommunications services purchased by ISPs to provide Internet access. A federal amendment to the ITFA in 2004 broadened the definition of “Internet access” to include telecommunications services purchased, used, or sold by an ISP to provide Internet access. As a result of the expanded definition, states, including Massachusetts, were prohibited from taxing such telecommunications services. In addition to redirecting taxpayers to TIR 05-8, the Department also advised that taxpayers may rely on section 1106 of the ITFA regarding the taxation of bundled charges, including Internet access. The Department anticipates providing additional guidance if the ITFA expires. Mass. TIR 14-10 (Sept. 11, 2014).