The South Carolina Administrative Law Court ("Court") recently ruled that a taxpayer's provision of portable restrooms was a taxable rental rather than a non-taxable waste disposal service.
The taxpayer provided portable restrooms along with related services. These services included installing, cleaning, and maintaining the restrooms and removing and disposing of the waste.
South Carolina sales tax applies to rentals of tangible personal property but does not apply to waste disposal services. When a sale includes both taxable and non-taxable components for one lump sum, South Carolina looks to the true object of the sale to see if it is taxable. If the true object is the taxable component, the whole sale is taxable. If the true object is the non-taxable component, the whole sale is not taxable. The taxpayer argued that the true object of the sale was a non-taxable waste disposal service.
The Court determined that the true object was the rental of the portable restrooms. Without the portable restroom units, there would be no need for any of the services that the taxpayer provided. Because the true object was the taxable rental, the entire transaction was taxable.