By Olga Goldberg and Amy Nogid

The Wyoming State Board of Equalization held that telecommunications equipment shipped to and temporarily stored in Wyoming by a purchaser before being transported by the purchaser for installation in Montana by the manufacturer was not subject to the state’s use tax. Range Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Range), a Wyoming-based telephone service cooperative, contracted with an equipment manufacturer, Cyan, Inc. (Cyan), to deliver and install an Ethernet network throughout its system, including in Montana. Cyan shipped the equipment to Range’s headquarters in Wyoming, where it was sorted by Range employees and then stored for three days at a coop member’s Wyoming facility before being transported to Montana by Range’s representatives. The Board’s ruling relied on the parties’ contract under which Cyan retained ownership of and responsibility for the equipment from shipment until the installation project was completed in Montana. The Board rejected the Department of Revenue’s argument that a “continuous shipping stream” would be required to avoid use tax and that the stream was interrupted because Range, rather than a common carrier, took temporary possession of the equipment in Wyoming. In re Appeal of Range Telephone Coop., Inc., Dkt. No. 2014-14 (Wyo. State Bd. of Equalization, Sept. 23, 2015).