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Sales Tax Treatment of Online Communications and Direct Mail 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 Thursday, May 4, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will guide tax professionals with an in-depth analysis of the sales tax treatment of direct mail promotions, outsourced customer billings, and electronic communications after recent state tax law changes. The panel will discuss nexus-related issues, the taxability of postage and shipping, reporting obligations, recent state regulations and decisions including Quad Graphics Inc. v. N.C. Dep't of Revenue, and the rapid rise in sales tax audits and how to prepare for these.


State sales and use tax treatment of promotional and non-promotional direct mail and electronic communications has 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. Still, state sales tax regulations regarding such communications are varied and challenging.

Questions and potential problems abound with direct mail and electronic communications. Most recently, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld an assessment of sales tax on Quad Graphics, a commercial printing company, rejecting a lower court’s reliance on the precedent set in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision McLeod v. J.E. Dilworth Co., 322 U.S. 327 (1944). Dilworth prohibited the assessment of sales tax in North Carolina when transfer of title and property took place in another state. Company tax professionals and advisers must stay abreast of trends in state sales and tax regulations.

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. Examples of specific state laws and tax policies
  3. Nexus issues
  4. Sourcing of direct mail materials
  5. Taxability of postage, shipping, and other mailing services, and the strategy of itemizing charges
  6. Latest state actions
  7. Preparing for a sales tax audit


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

  • 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?
  • Latest state actions: Which administrative and court rulings, state and local regulations, SSTP matrix changes, etc. should get a multistate company's attention?


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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