Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013
Sales and Use Tax Annotations
515.0000 SERVICE ENTERPRISES GENERALLY—Regulation 1501
(e) MISCELLANEOUS ACTIVITIES
515.1010 Foreclosure Listing Service. A taxpayer accumulates Notice of Default, Notices of Trustees Sales, Notices of Trustees Deed, and federal and state tax liens from the County Recorder's offices. Taxpayer also links information obtained from the County Assessor's offices to the information obtained from the County Recorder's office. The information obtained from the County Assessor's offices includes the date that property was sold, selling price, assessed value and square footage.
The taxpayer's subscribers receive a foreclosure listing in a standardized format, i.e., Notices of Default in one county for $49.95 per month or a subscriber may choose to receive the same information for several counties for $519.95 per month. In addition, a subscriber may specifically request "custom specialty listings" for particular information other than the standardized reports. For example, a subscriber may request all foreclosures in a particular city during a particular period of time on single family residence with square footage between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet. Each subscriber has the option to receive any of the foreclosure listing through electronic transmission on a daily basis or through the United States mail on daily or weekly basis.
Where the taxpayers subscribers receive foreclosure listing through electronic transmission and do not obtain possession of any tangible personal property, such transactions are not subject to sales tax. With respect to foreclosure listing delivered through the mail which are custom specialty listing based on the subscribers special request for particular information, the taxpayer is performing information research which is a nontaxable service.
However, tax applies to the subscription fees charged for standardized reports delivered through the mail. The taxpayer in this instance is selling information in the form of tangible personal property. The real object sought by the subscriber is the report (foreclosure listings) itself which have intrinsic value due to the information contained. Subscribers are not purchasing the taxpayer's services per se; instead, they are purchasing the reports produces by the service. 7/17/96.