Laws, Regulations and Annotations


Business Taxes Law Guide—Revision 2024

Sales and Use Tax Annotations

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325.0000 Interstate and Foreign Commerce—Regulation 1620

Annotation 325.1775

(c) Shipments from California to Points Outside State

(8) Use Tax

325.1775 Sweepstakes Promotion. Company A is a California retailer with retail outlets in California and other states. Its warehouse is located in California. Company A enters into a contract with Company B to provide $300,000 of merchandise for a sweepstakes promotion. Among other things, one of the purposes of the contract is to allow Company C, through its agent Company B, to obtain access to promotional opportunities afforded by Company A's mailing list and retail stores.

The prize fund for the sweepstakes is $300,000 in cost of A's merchandise. B pays A the cost of property shipped each month plus 1.2% carrying cost on the value of the unshipped balance of the unawarded merchandise. Under these circumstances, A is the retailer of the merchandise. Tax applies to its cost price of the merchandise plus the 1.2% carrying cost.

As part of the contract, B pays A a portion of the cost of certain catalog costs. This reimbursement does not reduce the measure of tax on the purchase of the catalogs by A nor does it represent additional gross receipts from the sale of merchandise. It represents reimbursement for space in the catalog.

As part of the contract, Company C will issue merchandise certificates redeemable by A. These certificates are in lieu of discounts which A normally would provide to its customers. B, in turn, will pay A 85% of the face value of the merchandise certificates. The amount received by A are gross receipts from a sale. B is acting as C's agent in making payment to A. Deliveries of merchandise in California are subject to tax.

Another part of the contract provides that A will pay B a percentage of total sales made from a specific catalog. This payment is in consideration for C's advertising in the catalog. The payment is in the form of A's merchandise certificates. The distribution of the certificates is at B's discretion.

Under these circumstances, A is the consumer of any merchandise which it ships in redeeming the merchandise certificates. Tax applies to all withdrawals of merchandise from the California warehouse in redeeming these certificates even though some merchandise is shipped outside the state. The withdrawal from inventory for this purpose constitutes a "use" in this state. 8/20/89.