Electronically Delivered Prewritten Software Sold with Tangible Personal Property Taxable in Virginia

A taxpayer’s sales of prewritten computer software and related services as part of the sale of a medical system, billed on the same invoice with taxable computer hardware and other equipment, were subject to Virginia sales and use tax even though the software was delivered electronically. The software was either downloaded directly to the computer equipment sold to the customer or was downloaded to a thumb drive from which a technician employed by the taxpayer then transferred the software to the customer’s equipment onsite. Electronically delivered software is generally not subject to sales and use tax in Virginia. However, the relevant exemption only applies to services that do not involve the exchange of tangible personal property. While the software was delivered electronically, the software and related services were an integral part of the sale of the medical system, which is tangible personal property. As a result, the software and services were properly included in the taxable sales price of the system.Additionally, the seller did not meet the minimum requirements for certification of electronic delivery which require a sales invoice, contract or other type of sales agreement must expressly certify the electronic delivery of the software and that no tangible medium for that software will be furnished to the customer. The documentation is required because the exemption does not apply if the software is provided to the customer in a tangible form, such as a disc or tape, before or after the electronic download of the same software. (Ruling of Commissioner, P.D. 14-178, Virginia Department of Taxation, October 23, 2014)

Posted on December 5, 2014