Sales Tax Treatment of Direct Mail and Online Communications Under New State Tax Rules

Note: CLE credit is not offered on this program

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

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Conducted on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

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Course Materials

This course will provide guidance to tax professionals with an in-depth analysis of the sales tax treatment of direct mail promotions, outsourced customer billings, and electronic communications after new state tax law changes. The panel will discuss the unexpected sales and use tax consequences faced by companies, recent state regulations, nexus-related issues, taxability of postage and shipping, and reporting obligations.


State sales and use tax treatment of promotional and non-promotional direct mail and electronic communications have been significantly affected since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Wayfair. Customer communications delivered both in a printed format and via the internet are a substantial part of corporate marketing and customer satisfaction, but state sales tax regulations regarding such communications are varied and challenging. Company tax professionals and advisers must stay abreast of trends in state sales and tax regulations.

Questions and potential problems abound with direct mail and electronic communications. How does Wayfair impact the tax treatment of direct mail and electronic communications? What is the location for sales or use tax sourcing? Does the taxability of a communication change when 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 merely upon the mailing of company promotional materials there?

Listen as our panel of experienced sales tax advisers helps clarify the confusion over state tax policy concerning 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 concerning taxability: direct mail and electronic communications
  2. Latest state actions
  3. Examples of specific state laws and tax policies
  4. Wayfair and nexus issues
  5. Sourcing of direct mail materials
  6. Taxability of postage, shipping, and other mailing services


The panel will focus on these and other material 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 multistate company's attention?
  • Policies of major states: Which states tax or exempt promotional, non-promotional, or electronic communications?
  • Obligations of printers, customers of printers and service providers—Wayfair
  • 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?
  • Taxability of different services? How to minimize the tax bill?


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

Szal, Jamie
Jamie E. T. Szal

Brann & Isaacson

Ms. Szal focuses her practice on assisting businesses in all aspects of state and local tax controversy, from...  |  Read More

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