Massachusetts Position on Taxability of Direct Mail Promotional Advertising Materials

Following the decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court case Bloomingdale’s, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue clarified their position on sales and use taxability of direct mail promotional advertising materials. This brought upon an amendment that became effective August 9, 2004 and stated that the position they held was for an exemption for direct mail promotional advertising materials, which specifically excludes mail order and department store catalogs, telephone directories, or similar printed advertising books, booklets, or circulars greater than six pages in length. For tax periods prior to August 9, 2004, the exemption includes discount coupons, advertising leaflets, and similar printed advertising such as mail order and department store catalogs that are mailed to a customer list, without regard to page limitation. Telephone and other directories containing advertisements are not exempt. Taxpayers, including retailers or printers, who have paid tax on materials that are exempt for the periods, may file an application for abatement, Form CA-6. (Massachusetts Department of Revenue, June 6, 2005)

Posted on September 7, 2005