In a recently released letter ruling, the Georgia Department of Revenue concluded that charges for the electronic delivery of medical records, and services related to the management and processing of medical records, are not subject to sales and use tax, while charges for transferring medical records delivered on paper or another “tangible format” are subject to sales and use tax.
The taxpayer who received the letter ruling requested guidance regarding the taxability of activities including:
- providing medical records maintained by the taxpayer to third-parties including patients, medical providers, and insurance companies;
- retrieving medical records maintained by persons other than the taxpayer; and
- services related to the collection, management, storage and use of healthcare data such as: (a) the translation of medical information into industry-standard codes for purposes such as risk adjustment and claims processing; (b) converting and updating medical records; and (c) data mining and extraction of clinical data from a large volume of medical records.
Under Georgia law, sales of tangible personal property generally are subject to sales and use tax unless an exemption applies, but sales of information or material delivered electronically typically are not considered taxable sales of tangible personal property. Further, sales of services are not subject to tax unless specifically designated as taxable. Therefore, the Department concluded that sales and use tax only applied to charges related to medical records delivered in a tangible format, but tax did not apply to charges related to the transfer of electronic records or the management and processing of medical records.