Ohio: Survey services are taxable information services

Listen to a brief overview of state tax developments this week, including Ohio, or read full Ohio development below.

Detailed Ohio Development

The Ohio Tax Commissioner recently concluded that a demographic survey platform provider was providing taxable electronic information services. The taxpayer’s service allowed its customers to obtain responses to survey questions according to specific demographics that the customer selected. Customers provided their survey questions through an online platform and survey results were delivered to customers via the platform. Under Ohio law, sales and use tax is imposed on “electronic services…to be provided for use in business.” Such services are defined as “providing access to computer equipment by means of telecommunications equipment for the purpose of either of the following: (i) Examining or acquiring data stored in or accessible to the computer equipment; (ii) Placing data into the computer equipment to be retrieved by designated recipients with access to the computer equipment.”  Recognizing that there may be overlap between taxable “electronic information services” and “personal or professional services,” the statute recognizes that the true object of the transaction must be the receipt of electronic information services and not the receipt of nontaxable personal or professional services. The Commissioner concluded that the relevant end product at issue was the survey results or data provided to the customer and, in the Commissioner’s view, that product met the definition of a taxable “electronic information service.” Please contact Dave Perry at 513-763-2402 for more information on Ohio Opinion No. 20-0002.

This Week's Developments

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Featured Speaker

Sarah McGahan

Sarah McGahan

Managing Director, State & Local Tax, KPMG US