By Sahang-Hee Hahn and Timothy Gustafson
Less than two months after Massachusetts enacted a tax on computer design and software services (Tech Tax), the legislation was repealed with the passage of House Bill (HB) 3662 (for Sutherland’s previous coverage of this development, click here). The Tech Tax expanded Massachusetts’s sales and use tax base to include “computer system design services,” which the law defined as “the planning, consulting, or designing of computer systems that integrate computer hardware, software, or communication technologies and are provided by a vendor or a third party.” The Tech Tax also amended the statutory definition of taxable “[s]ervices” to include “the modification, integration, enhancement, installation or configuration of standardized software;” it also excluded “data access, data processing or information management services” from this definition. Mass. St. 2013 c. 46; Mass. G.L. c. 63 § 38(f), c. 64H § 1. HB 3662 undoes both of these legislative amendments. Under HB 3662, a taxpayer who collected and remitted the Tech Tax to the Department of Revenue may claim a refund for the full amount paid to the Department by filing an application for abatement by December 31, 2013. A taxpayer must refund all relevant amounts to its customers within 30 days of receiving an abatement. A taxpayer who previously collected but did not remit such funds to the Department must make “reasonable efforts” to refund such amounts to its customers. Finally, a taxpayer who neither previously collected nor paid the Tech Tax on or after July 31, 2013 is not subject to any fines, penalties or fees for having failed to do so. Mass. St. 2013 c. 95 (approved Sept. 27, 2013).