Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013

Sales and Use Tax Annotations

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Annotation 420.0040


420.0040 Photographers—In General—Aerial Photographs and Photomaps (Controlled Mosaics). Aerial photographs are photographs of objects, ground areas, highways, etc., taken from the air. Aerial photographs are produced by use of airborne equipment and the usual photographic processes and carry distortions as to scale and as to positions of objects on the photographs. They are distinguished from photomaps in that the photomap is one of the end products of an aerial survey using precise engineering procedures including the establishment or identification of control points of latitude and longitude, the computation of engineering data by stereoscopic measurements and the rectification of photographic images. The furnishing of aerial photographs is a sale of tangible personal property. The sales price of the aerial photograph would be the gross receipts for furnishing the photographs with no deduction for flight costs, photographer's time, material, etc.

Aerial surveys are airborne surveys of ground areas for the purpose of (1) obtaining engineering data with respect to ground surfaces, contours, and improvements; (2) obtaining data with respect to magnetic fields and intensities; or (3) obtaining gravitational data. Aerial surveys are distinguished from flights made for the purpose of producing aerial photographs or mosaics (noncontrolled) in that an aerial survey is a professional undertaking employing precise engineering procedures and resulting in precise engineering reports or maps such as photomaps, planimetric maps, topographic maps, magnetic maps, and gravimetric maps. Receipts from aerial surveys are not taxable whether the results of such surveys are transmitted by means of photomaps or by means of tape, disc, or other computer-generated output.

Engineering services are the services involved in a survey or mapping project which has as its end the preparation of a map to conform with geodetic or other control and include the establishment of control points of latitude and longitude, identification of the points on photographs and computations of distances between points and elevations to precise engineering specifications through the use of engineering formulas and stereoscopic measurement. Persons who conduct surveys requiring engineering services are the consumers of the tangible personal property used in connection therewith including the maps, reports, and other materials furnished the client.

Mosaics (noncontrolled) are made by assembling vertical aerial photographs of approximately the same scale representing contiguous areas, matched at common points. The composite photograph of such assemblies is called a mosaic or noncontrolled mosaic. It is distinguished from a photomap in that the mosaic is not precisely engineered and is intended as a visual representation of the area rather than a presentation of exact engineering data. Gross receipts for furnishing mosaics are receipts from the sale of tangible personal property. Photomaps are one of the principal end products of aerial surveys using precise engineering procedures, including the establishment of control points of latitude and longitude, the computation of engineering data by stereoscopic measurements, the exact rectification of photographic images, and the preparation of a photographic map showing geophysical data and geographic positions true within minute tolerance. They are distinguished from aerial photographs in that aerial photographs are merely visual representations not intended to present exact engineering data and not prepared by professional procedures such as would produce dependable engineering data. The aerial survey resulting in a photomap uses a substantial amount of professional engineering services and results in engineering data; the production of an aerial photograph requires the use of aircraft and crew, photographic equipment, and photographers but no professional engineers and results in a mere picture or group of pictures. Receipts from conducting an aerial survey and furnishing photomaps are considered charges for rendering professional services and the aerial surveyor is the consumer of the tangible personal property used in the survey and the reports, charts, and photomaps furnished the client in connection with the survey.

Reproductions of maps, that is, copies printed from an original of a hand-drawn map or a photomap, are regarded as self-consumed tangible personal property only if such reproductions are furnished pursuant to an original contract involving engineering services. Receipts from the transfer of reproductions under such circumstances are not subject to the tax. 9/26/72; 12/31/73; 9/24/91.