New York Releases Advisory Opinion on Software and Consulting Services

In an Advisory Opinion dated November 17, 2020, the New York Commissioner clarified their position on the taxability of consulting services that provide access to online customer portals. The opinion addresses the taxability of a marketing consulting service provided to car dealerships. The consulting service relies on the expertise and software of the service provider, but also allowed customers to enter information and view select reports about the performance of their marketing campaigns on the provider’s secure website. The state determined that, because customers cannot independently launch advertising or marketing campaigns through the website, or independently use the company’s proprietary software to change their marketing campaigns, the service did not constitute a sale of pre-written computer software. As more companies incorporate online portals into their service offerings, the issue of what states consider to be the primary purpose of these portals for determining taxability remains an ongoing question, one on which New York has now provided additional clarity. (New York Advisory Opinion TSB-A-20(63)S, November 17, 2020)

Posted on June 30, 2021