Sales of Online Banking Products Subject to Tax in Utah

The sale of licenses to financial institutions for the use of online banking and bill payment, a finance and budget tool, and mobile banking products in Software as a Service (SaaS) transactions was subject to Utah sales tax when the financial institution customers were located in Utah. License fees are taxable if they are charged for retail sales of tangible personal property used in Utah, the use of tangible personal property in Utah, or leases or rentals of tangible personal property located in Utah. Sales of rights to use software are taxable retail sales of property. The company sold access to its online products to its customers and trained customers’ employees how to use them. The company’s customers then made the online products available to their banking customers. The essence of the transaction was the sale of the use of the company’s prewritten computer software and not the sale of the services of the company’s personnel. In Utah, if a purchaser uses computer software and a copy of the software is not transferred to the purchaser, the location of the transaction is the purchaser’s address. The taxable use of the company’s online software products was distinguishable from the exempt use of a seller’s online database accessed through the seller’s software. The company does not compile then sell access to any database. (Private Letter Ruling, Opinion No. 15-005, Utah State Tax Commission, November 16, 2015, released January 2016)

Posted on January 18, 2016