Navigating Sales Tax Treatment of Direct Mail and Online Promotional Communications

Avoiding Unexpected Sales and Use Tax Consequences Given Various State Policies

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This webinar will prepare corporate tax professionals and advisors to navigate the unexpected sales and use tax consequences of direct mail promotions, outsourced customer billings, and electronic communications.


State sales and use tax treatment of promotional and non-promotional direct mail and electronic communications is developing rapidly. Customer communications delivered both in a printed format and via the Internet is a significant part of corporate marketing and customer satisfaction, but state sales tax policies regarding such communications are varied and challenging. Company tax professionals and advisors must stay abreast of trends.

Questions and potential problems abound with direct mail and electronic communications. What is the location for sales or use tax sourcing? Does taxability of a communication change delivered over the Internet instead of shipped? If you outsource production and delivery of statements to recipients on a digital customer list, are you making a taxable purchase of goods or a non-taxable purchase of services? What are the use tax implications of direct mail? Can a state declare nexus based simply upon the mailing of company promotional materials there?

Listen as our panel of experienced sales tax advisors helps clarify the confusion over state tax policy with respect to the delivery of both promotional and non-promotional communications—for tax specialists who deal in that industry and for state tax consultants.



  1. Essential concepts with respect to taxability: Direct mail and electronic communications
  2. Latest state actions
  3. Examples of specific state laws and tax policies
  4. Nexus-related issues
  5. Taxability of postage and shipping


The panel will focus on these and other key aspects of state sales and use tax treatment of printed and online communications:

  • Latest state actions: Which administrative and court rulings, state and local regulations, SSTP matrix changes, etc. should get a multi-state company’s attention?
  • Policies of major states: Which states tax or exempt promotional, non-promotional or electronic communications?
  • Sourcing: Which jurisdictions should receive the tax from a direct mail or electronic communication program with recipients located in multiple states?
  • Audits: What kind of documentation may state tax auditors expect to review and/or accept in this area?
  • Use tax: Could the materials for a marketing campaign be found to have been “used” in a state you weren’t expecting?


Eisenstein, Martin
Martin Eisenstein

Managing Partner
Brann & Isaacson

Mr. Eisenstein is one of the nation’s leading experts in state and local taxation of information...  |  Read More

Schaefer, Matthew
Matthew P. Schaefer

State and Local Tax Partner
Brann & Isaacson

Mr. Schaefer regularly advises clients on state sales and use tax issues, including those involving direct mail...  |  Read More

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