By Mike Kerman and Charlie Kearns

The New York Department of Taxation and Finance issued an advisory opinion concluding that a taxpayer that collects and furnishes healthcare information on behalf of healthcare providers, such as medical practices and hospitals, to persons requesting copies of medical records is not performing a service subject to New York sales and use tax. The Department also determined that the taxpayer’s coding service, by which the taxpayer transforms narrative descriptions of diseases, injuries and similar information into numeric or alphanumeric codes is not taxable if performed for healthcare provider customers or persons authorized to request medical records. These services are non-taxable information services that are personal or individual in nature. However, the Department determined that if the taxpayer provided coded information to third parties, such as persons seeking information for research or education purposes, the records would no longer be personal or individual to the person requesting such information, and would therefore be taxable. TSB-A-16(31)S.