Web-Based Reports Delivered to Customers in New York are Subject to New York Sales Tax

A taxpayer sale of a web-based report that allows retailers, shopping centers, and real estate developers to assess the potential success of specific retail brands for a given location was found subject to New York sales tax. The sale of information services, including the services of collecting, compiling or analyzing information and furnishing reports (excluding the furnishing of information which is personal or individual in nature and which is not or may not be substantially incorporated in reports furnished to other persons) is subject to sales tax. Generally, if a common database is used to generate reports, the information sold is taxable even though the reports may be customized to meet the specific needs of customers. In this situation, although the report about a potential tenant for a specific site location may seem to constitute information that is personal or individual in nature, the demographic information delivered by the taxpayer is common data base information that is available to and offered to any other person requesting information about potential tenants (which may include the same tenants that were suggested to the first requestor). Therefore, the charges by the taxpayer to for its reports constitute taxable information services when delivered in New York. For sourcing purposes, it is the point of delivery that determines the imposition of tax. Services are taxed based upon the location to which they are delivered notwithstanding that the service may have been performed elsewhere. The reports delivered to the customer in New York are subject to sales tax regardless of whether the site location that is the subject matter of the report is within or without the state. (TSB-A-09(55)S, New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, December 7, 2009)

Posted on January 14, 2010