By Nicole Boutros and Jeff Friedman

The Director of the Arizona Department of Revenue affirmed an Administrative Law Judge determination that a taxpayer must pay the Transaction Privilege Tax on sales of access to the taxpayer’s subscription-based online research service. The Director reasoned that these sales were taxable as rentals of tangible personal property—and not non-taxable services—because the taxpayer’s customers had sufficient control and use of the taxpayer’s software and could manipulate the software content for their specific needs. The Director rejected the taxpayer’s assertion that the common understanding of the taxpayer’s trade or business was the provision of database access and content, or that the transaction’s dominant purpose was database browsing and searching. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue Director’s Decision, No. 201400197-S (Oct. 27, 2015).