The Tennessee Department of Revenue issued a letter ruling finding that a taxpayer’s mobile and web data analytics services were not subject to sales and use tax. The taxpayer’s customers installed the taxpayer’s software code, which collected user data about the customers’ websites or mobile applications. The taxpayer then analyzed the data and granted the customers a limited, non-exclusive software license allowing them access to the taxpayer’s web-based dashboard to review reports and analysis of the data. The Department’s ruling noted that access to the web-based dashboard constituted taxable computer software while the taxpayer’s data analytics services were not subject to Tennessee sale and use tax. The Department explained, however, that the “true object” test determined the taxability of a bundled transaction involving both taxable and nontaxable components. The Department concluded that the true object of the taxpayer’s transaction was the sale of nontaxable data analytics service and the provision of computer software was merely incidental to the sale such that the entire transaction was not subject to sales and use tax.

Tenn. Letter Ruling No. 18-09 (Dec. 14, 2018)