On Forbes.com, Peter Reilly briefly discusses the end of Borders and provides the full text of the New York Advisory Opinion that was published about three weeks ago about eBooks being tax exempt in New York State.
From the Opinion:
The Department of Taxation and Finance received a Petition for Advisory Opinion from [name redacted]. Petitioner asks whether its sales of e-books are subject to sales and use tax. We conclude that they are not.
The full text of the advisory opinion is also available direct from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (PDF; 2 pages)
You’ll also read that the petitioner was a California company [Apple???] who, “stores a digitized catalog of electronic books (“e-books”) available for sale to customers inside and outside New York through its on-line bookstore.”
The Analysis Begins:
The Tax Law imposes sales and use tax on tangible personal property, including prewritten software, and certain enumerated services, including information services (Tax Law § 1105[a], [c]).
Petitioner’s e-books are not tangible and do not include any prewritten computer software. Accordingly, they do not constitute tangible personal property. As to whether the e-books constitute taxable information services, TSB-M-11(5)S provides that the Tax Department’s current position is that electronic publications that meet the memorandum’s definition of an e-book do not constitute information services.