Taxability of Online Training and Customer Lists in Indiana Discussed

A car manufacturer that sells access to an online employee training system to a car dealership is not subject to sales tax on sales of the training system. The sale qualifies as a nontaxable training service and not as a sale of tangible personal property, computer software, or a subscription subject to Indiana sales tax. However, sales of customer “leads” by the car manufacturer to a car dealership qualify as sales of tangible personal property and are subject to Indiana sales tax. The sale of statistical reports, graphs, diagrams or any other information produced or complied by a computer and sold or reproduced for sale in substantially the same form as it is so produced is considered to be the sale of tangible personal property unless the information from which such reports was compiled was furnished by the same person to whom the finished report is sold. However, the charge for reports compiled by a computer exclusively from data furnished by the same person for whom the data is prepared is considered to be for a service and is not subject to sales or use tax unless it is part of a unitary transaction which is subject to sales or use tax. In this case, the data was provided by independent parties and not the car dealers. The customer information was obtained by the car manufacturer and sold on a per-unit basis to the dealership. The dealership paid a monthly fee for the customer information reports. (Letter of Findings No. 04-20100705, Indiana Department of Revenue, January 25, 2012)

Posted on March 26, 2012