For Your Eyes Only: New York Advises that Database Service is not Subject to Sales Tax
The New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance issued an Advisory Opinion explaining that a petitioner’s service that allows customers to access its database and run reports of the customers’ data is not subject to sales tax. The petitioner enters into agreements with customers to maintain their fleet of vehicles, and the petitioner compiles data on the maintenance performed on the vehicles. For a separate monthly charge, the petitioner allows a customer access to the data through a website, and a customer can run reports regarding maintenance performed on its vehicles. Under New York law, sales tax is imposed on the service of furnishing information, except for information “which is personal or individual in nature and which is or may not be substantially incorporated into reports furnished to other persons.” The Commissioner explained that the petitioner’s database service is an information service, but determined that it was not subject to sales tax because the petitioner compiles and organizes information about a customer’s own vehicles, and each customer’s information is provided only to that customer and, therefore, the petitioner’s service is personal or individual in nature.
Advisory Op. TSB-A-20(38)S, N.Y.S. Dep’t of Tax & Fin. (July 28, 2020) (Published Feb. 19, 2021).