SEC Filing Service Subject to Tennessee Sales Tax

The services of a taxpayer that obtains financial information from its customers, converts it into a compliant file then transmits the file electronically to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are subject to Tennessee sales and use tax as a telecommunication service. The definition of “telecommunications service” includes electronic data transmission. Converting customers’ information into the SEC-compliant file also falls within the perimeters of the statute. The service is not considered data processing since its primary purpose is the conversion of information into a SEC-compliant file and electronic transmittal to the SEC, not the processing or retrieval of data. The taxpayer charges customers per-page or per-document. This is considered to be a sale on a call-by-call basis. If a telecommunications service is sold on this basis and the call doesn’t originate and terminate in the same location, the sale is sourced to the taxing jurisdiction where the call either originates or terminates and in which the service address is located. The transmission originates at the taxpayer’s server (located outside of Tennessee) and terminates at the SEC. The call is sourced to one of those locations, not to Tennessee, therefore the taxpayer’s sales are not subject to Tennessee tax. (Letter Ruling No. 11-35, Tennessee Department of Revenue, July 22, 2011, released September 23, 2011)

Posted on May 21, 2012