New Hampshire Tire Seller Not Liable for Tax in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Supreme Court reversed a decision made by the Appellate Tax Board and ruled that a New Hampshire tire seller was not liable for Massachusetts sales tax on sales made to Massachusetts residents in New Hampshire. The Department argued that due to the seller’s knowledge of the customers’ residence, the seller should have known the tires would be used in Massachusetts and, therefore, should have collected sales tax. After a review of a vendor’s liability for use tax, the Court denied the Commissioner’s arguments because the language in Massachusetts statute does not allow for the presumption of use that the Commissioner seeks to impose. Accordingly, the Appellate Tax Board’s decision was reversed. The court mentioned that the Legislature may, of course, enact such a presumption, but in the absence of any such statutory authorization, it is error to rely on a presumption that tires sold to a Massachusetts resident outside the Commonwealth were actually used in the Commonwealth. (Town Fair Tire Centers, Inc v. Commissioner of Revenue, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, No. SJC-10360, August 25, 2009)

Posted on September 2, 2009