New York Games and Sounds Sold by Mobile Telecom Provider Discussed

The New York Department of Taxation and Finance has issued an advisory opinion regarding the taxability of wallpaper, games, music, and sounds sold by a mobile telecommunications provider. The Department found that the receipts from the sales of these products were not subject to the tax imposed by section 186(a), the furnishing of utility services, because the products did not fit the definition of gross operating income. The products were also not subject to the telecommunications excise tax or the state and local sales taxes imposed on telecommunications because they were not commercial mobile radio or ancillary services. The receipts from the sale of games, however, are subject to sales tax under Tax Law section 1105(a), because the downloaded games are taxable as prewritten computer software. (TSB-A-08(8)C and TSB-A-08(63)S, New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, November 24, 2008, released January 2009)

Posted on April 3, 2009