Tennessee Issues Guidance on Taxability of Pre-Recorded Videos of Online Courses

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has added three new FAQs to its website discussing the taxability of pre-recorded videos of online courses. A pre-recorded video of a previously livestreamed online course that is accessed by subscribers or consumers in Tennessee is subject to sales tax as the sale of access to a specified digital product. The sale of the pre-recorded video is taxable whether it is offered on-demand (i.e. available anytime) or as a webcast replay (i.e. must be accessed at a scheduled date/time). The fact that a live instructor is not available during the online course does not change the taxability of the transaction, even if course participants can ask the instructor questions via email during or after the online course. Emailing questions to an instructor is a non-taxable component of the transaction. The true object of the transaction is the access to a specified digital product. To see our previous news item on Tennessee’s view of instructor-led online courses, see Instructor-Led Live Online Courses Not Taxable in Tennessee. (Tennessee Department of Revenue website, September 16, 2020)

Posted on October 14, 2020