The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released a letter ruling explaining that electronically downloaded data in pdf format is not subject to sales tax. Mo. Ltr. Rul. No. LR 7047 (Dept. of Revenue Mar. 7, 2012). The party that sought the ruling needed to determine whether its sale of data that is electronically downloaded in a pdf format is subject to sales tax. The business provides its customers with insurance company financial data. It compiles the data and delivers it to their customers electronically, generally as a pdf document, which the customers download to their computers.
The DOR explained that the sale of electronically downloaded data in a pdf format is not taxable. Missouri taxes retail sales of tangible personal property and the rendering of taxable services. In reaching its conclusion the DOR reasoned that there is no sale of tangible personal property when information is sold and then electronically downloaded onto the purchaser's computer. Furthermore this service--providing information--is not one of the services specifically subject to sales tax in Missouri.