Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017
Sales and Use Tax Annotations
385.0000 NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS—Regulation 1590
(a) IN GENERAL
385.0015 Bill Inserts. A printer prints loose leaflets (bill inserts) for a utility company which are sent with the monthly bills. The printer believes that the monthly bill inserts qualify either as a periodical or printed sales messages. The printer states that the bill inserts appear at stated intervals (monthly), contain news or information of general interest to the public, or to some particular organization or group of persons (utility company's subscribers), and each monthly issue bears a relationship to a prior or subsequent issue in respect to continuity of literary character or similarity of subject matter and there is some connection between the different issues of the series. In addition, the items are printed to the specific order of the customer, the items are mailed by the U.S. Postal Service, and the items are received by the subscribers at no cost to them. The printer also claims that it makes no difference whether there is an independent mailer of the item.
The bill inserts do not meet the definition of a periodical because they constitute handbills. The items are in the nature of notices and/or advertised services or pertaining to PUC regulations, etc. They are small, one-page items and are not printed at stated intervals, although they generally have a printing date on the back. Even if the bill inserts were not considered handbills, they are publications in which the advertising exceeds 90% of the printed area of the entire issue. Additionally, the PUC-required notices do not qualify because each notice is independent, and not one of a series of issues of the same publication.
The bill inserts do not meet the requirement of the printed sales messages because they were delivered by a nonqualifying method. The bill inserts were delivered to the purchaser, the utility company, not to the final destination or to a mailing house. The PUC-required notices are not printed sales messages because they are not printed for the principal purpose of advertising goods or services. 2/4/93.