Bill Pay Services Provided to Banks Exempt in Texas

Electronic bill pay services provided by a taxpayer to banks for use by the bank’s customers were determined to be nontaxable professional services rather than taxable data processing services for purposes of Texas sales tax. Through use of the taxpayer’s portal, bank customers could make payments, view pending payments, add payment recipients and perform other tasks related to bill payment. The taxpayer’s services to banks included conducting a credit check on users, executing payments as instructed by users, determining the method of payment, using ACH processing to execute the payment debits and credits, and providing paper checks to payees. The taxpayer provided banks with a dedicated connection, monitored and supported network hardware, software, and mainframe operations, employed professionals to monitor transactions to prevent fraud and ensure compliance with banking regulations, provided professional support directly to users in cases where payments were not made as instructed, and prepared reports for the banks regarding users and payments. None of the taxpayer’s services to banks fall within the activities listed in the state’s definition of taxable data processing services. The taxpayer came under a specific exclusion in the definition for providers of professional services who use a computer to facilitate the performance of their service. As a result, the services provided were nontaxable professional services. (Hegarv. CheckFree Services Corporation, Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District, Houston, No. 14-15-00027-CV, April 19, 2016)

Posted on July 25, 2016