DRS: Ruling 92-1, Sales and Use Taxes / Advertising Services

 

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES

450 Columbus Blvd
Hartford CT 06103
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 

This Ruling has been cited by Ruling 93-8

Ruling 92-1

Sales and Use Taxes
Advertising Services


FACTS:

A company is in the business of publishing, on an annual basis, a directory of vendors selling supplies and services used by architects and contractors in the construction of commercial and residential real property. The directory includes a section where vendors are listed by name, address and service. Vendors are not charged for the listing. In addition, vendors are permitted to purchase space in the directory to advertise their services and supplies. The directory is distributed to subscribers.


ISSUE:

Whether the sale of space in the directory for the purpose of advertising products and services constitutes "advertising," as that term is used in Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-407(2)(i)(W), and if so, whether it is exempt from tax as "media advertising."


DISCUSSION:

Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-407(2)(i)(W), as most recently amended by Public Act 91-3, 103, (June Spec. Sess.), provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(2) "Sale" and "selling" mean and include: . . . (i) the rendering of certain services for a consideration, exclusive of such services rendered by an employee for his employer, as follows: . . . (W) advertising or public relations services, including layout, art direction, graphic design, mechanical preparation, or production supervision, not related to the development of media advertising or cooperative direct mail advertising . . .

The Department's Special Notice on Sales and Use Taxes on Advertising and Public Relations Services, TSSN-30, addresses a number of issues relating to advertising services. In TSSN-30, "advertising services" is defined to include "all services related to the creation, preparation, production or the dissemination of advertisements." The production and/or display of advertisements in the directory for a consideration is clearly within the definition of advertising services.

Media advertising is also discussed in TSSN-30, where it is defined to mean

advertisements in newspapers and magazines and on radio, television and cable television stations. Media advertising also includes advertisements placed on billboards, buses or taxicabs.

Although this is a generally inclusive list of the various types of media advertising, it is not intended to be exhaustive. The Department's position has been that the sale of space in other forms of printed materials calculated to be distributed on a periodic basis, such as telephone directories, constitutes "media advertising" even though not specifically mentioned in TSSN-30.

In the instant case, the company sells space in a directory listing the names and addresses of trade vendors. This directory is then distributed annually, by subscription, to several groups of businesses which are potential customers of the trade vendors. This is similar to the sale of space in a trade magazine which is designed to be distributed or sold to a target group of businesses or customers.


RULING:

Advertising by trade vendors in a directory which is distributed periodically to subscribers within a group or several groups of businesses, such as architects and contractors, constitutes "media advertising" as that term is used in Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-407(2)(i)(W), and charges for space in such directories are therefore exempt from sales and use taxes.


LEGAL DIVISION

March 20, 1992