Newspaper Delivery Charges Not Taxable in Missouri
- Oct 17, 2012 | Gail Cole
In Missouri, the sale of tangible personal property is subject to sales tax. Newspapers are considered tangible personal property, and therefore sales of newspaper subscriptions are subject to sales tax.
A recent letter ruling by the Missouri Department of Revenue addresses the issue of whether or not newspaper delivery charges are also subject to sales tax. The answer, it turns out, hinges on whether or not delivery charges are mandatory, and how the charges are stated.
The Missouri Code of State Regulations 12 CSR 10-110.400(3)(E) (p10) reads
"If the purchaser is required to pay for delivery, handling, postage costs or similar service charges as part of the sale price of the publication, the entire sale price is subject to tax. If the purchaser is not required to pay the service charge as part of the sale price of the publication, the amount paid for the service is not subject to tax if the charge for such service is separately stated. If the charge for the service is not separately stated, the entire sale price is subject to tax."
The Applicant in the letter ruling publishes a daily newspaper and uses independent contractors to deliver the newspapers if subscribers desire home delivery. Subscribers may pick up the newspapers themselves, and forego delivery services. If used, delivery charges are separately stated, and the applicant receives no part of the delivery charge.
Since the Applicant does not mandate delivery, and since delivery charges are distinct from subscription charges, the Applicant is not required to pay sales tax on delivery services.