By Mike Kerman and Timothy Gustafson
The Illinois Department of Revenue issued a General Information Letter explaining how it will apply retailers’ occupation tax (ROT) and telecommunications excise tax (TET) to videoconferencing services. The taxpayer that sought the letter acts as a broker to match customers that need videoconferencing services with affiliates that operate videoconferencing facilities. The taxpayer also provides “bridging” services, by connecting the customer’s videoconferencing device to an affiliate’s videoconferencing device through an IP address and monitoring the connection during the conference, and may also provide Internet service to the customer through an Integrated Services for Digital Network connection. The Department explained that a customer’s rental of an affiliate’s videoconferencing facility is not subject to ROT as long as no tangible personal property is transferred to the customer. Additionally, the Department noted that “telecommunications” subject to TET do not include value-added services in which computer processing applications are used to act on the form or content of information for purposes other than transmission. Thus, these services are not subject to TET as long as they are separated from taxable telecommunications charges in the company’s books and records. If the nontaxable service charges are not separated, the entire charge is taxable as a sale of telecommunications. Ill. Dept. of Rev., General Information Letter ST-15-0028-GIL (May 14, 2015).