Texas Comptroller Regulates Educational Services of Cloud-Based Online Platform Not Subject to Sales Tax

The Texas Comptroller recently issued a private decision (published June 10, 2022) finding that access to a cloud-based online platform used by healthcare students while taking courses at accredited universities and colleges was not subject to sales tax . The platform was accessible exclusively via the Internet and the students did not download any software to access the platform. Professors using the platform assign students to modules, which provide various virtual patient simulations. At the end of the module, students receive grades based on their performance and the grades are forwarded to the responsible teacher for a follow-up debriefing. The monitor concluded that the program was not a taxable information service since it was educational and interactive and not simply the sale of information. The controller found that the program contained taxable data processing elements, such as compiling student responses and generating scores based on student performance. However, Texas Tax Code § 151.0101(d) grants the monitor exclusive jurisdiction to interpret whether the services are taxable and the monitor used that jurisdiction to conclude that the educational instruction and evaluation would not be considered a service. taxable data processing.

Stephen V. Lee