Virginia Rules That Lease Was Object of Transaction.

In a Virginia Supreme Court case, it was determined that a taxpayer who leased portable toilets was responsible for taxes on proceeds from pumping service charges because the true object of the transactions was the lease of the portable toilet and not the service of emptying them. The taxpayer thought that the true object test did not apply to this situation, but the courts disagreed. The taxpayer argued that it offers the pumping service to other companies who also lease portable toilets, so the service was not a component of the lease. The court found that the taxpayer did not advertise the price for this service; it merely offered pumping services to make the rental business practical. Also, the service was billed based on the number of toilets leased as opposed to how much waste was removed. Due to the fact that the toilets could not be leased without these services, which were essential for the functionality of the toilets, they did not qualify for a maintenance contract exemption. Since the lease was the true object of the transactions, they were deemed taxable. Separate billing of the lease and the pumping services did not render them exempt. (LZM, Inc. v. Virginia Department of Taxation, Virginia Supreme Court, Jan. 14, 2005)

Posted on September 7, 2005