On April 10, 2019, the Utah Tax Commission issued a private letter ruling to a video streaming provider (“Taxpayer”) finding that the Taxpayer’s sales of subscriptions entitling subscribers to enhanced features on the Taxpayer’s streaming platform, are not subject to sales and use tax. On its internet-based platform, the Taxpayer provides a video streaming service

By Michael Penza and Timothy Gustafson

The Utah State Tax Commission ruled that a Utah-based manufacturing and marketing company’s payroll factor must include compensation paid to a third-party “professional employer organization” (PEO) pursuant to a lease agreement for employees working at the taxpayer’s Utah facilities. The employees signed employment agreements with the PEO, and the

We recently launched the Sutherland SALT Digital Economy Forum, which provides comprehensive state tax resources regarding the taxation of the digital economy. Following is a summary of recent digital economy administrative guidance, noteworthy cases and legislation. If you would like to learn more about the Sutherland SALT Digital Economy Forum or any of the issues covered here, please contact us.

Sales, Use and Other Transaction Taxes

Administrative Guidance

  • Massachusetts Soliciting Comments on Software Directive. On February 7, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue issued a draft directive that addresses the application of the Massachusetts sales and use tax to sales of software and computer-related services.
  • Wisconsin Updates Guidance Regarding the Sales and Use Tax Treatment of Computer Hardware, Software, and Services; Addresses Cloud Computing. On January 25, 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) updated its software guidance for sales occurring on and after October 1, 2009. While the taxability conclusions and destination-based sourcing regime remain largely unchanged, the DOR expressly addressed software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
  • Missouri DOR: Computer Software May Not Be Eligible for Manufacturing Exemption. The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) recently determined that a company’s software programs were not eligible for the manufacturing equipment exemptions from sales and use tax because the software was not directly used in the manufacturing process.


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On March 22, 2012, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 384 (2012) into law, expanding the types of companies that are required to collect and remit Utah sales and use tax. HB 384 requires sellers that hold “substantial ownership interests” in certain “related sellers” to collect and remit Utah sales and use tax. Today, the Utah State Tax Commission released guidance on how to determine whether a business entity’s activities trigger the state’s new affiliate nexus law. The new nexus regulations go into effect on July 1, 2012.

The new affiliate nexus law, Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-107(2)(b), treats a seller as if it is selling tangible personal property, a service, or a product transferred electronically for use in Utah and will be required to collect and remit sales and use taxes if:


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The Utah State Tax Commission has amended its rules for apportioning financial institution receipts attributable to services from a costs-of-performance sourcing rule to a market-based sourcing rule (Utah Admin. R. R865-6F-32(3)(l)). Effective December 9, 2010, financial institutions must include in the sales factor numerator receipts from services not otherwise specifically addressed in the regulation “if the purchaser of the services receives a greater benefit of the services in Utah than in any other state.” 

The change in sourcing methodology is consistent with Utah’s recently amended general corporation apportionment statute, Utah Code Ann. § 59-7-319, which similarly provides for the market sourcing of services (based on where the purchaser receives a greater benefit of the service). The change to market sourcing for financial institutions is another departure by Utah from the Multistate Tax Commission’s (MTC) model regulations for the apportionment of financial institution income


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