Since August 1, 2009, the Massachusetts sales tax percentage is 6.25 percent of the sales price or rental charge of tangible personal property or specified telecommunications products and services sold or rented in Massachusetts.

The sales tax generally is paid to the vendor as an addition to the purchase price. The purchaser pays the sales tax to the merchant at the time of purchase; the vendor then remits the tax to the Commonwealth. For automobile and trailer sales, however, the sales tax is paid directly to the Commonwealth by the consumer.

Since August 1, 2009, the Massachusetts use tax is 6.25 percent of the sales price or rental charge on tangible personal property 1 (including mail order goods or products purchased over the Internet) or specific telecommunications services on which no sales tax, or a sales tax rate less than the 6.25 percent MA rate, was paid and which is to be used, stored or consumed in the commonwealth. The use tax, unlike the sales tax, usually is paid specifically to the state by the purchaser.

Case in point: You order household furniture for your MA enterprise or residence from an out-of-state firm and pay no MA or other state sales tax. You are compelled to pay the 6.25 percent Massachusetts use tax. The use tax applies because the items were not exposed to a sales tax in the other state and because it is for use in the commonwealth.

Concrete individual property involves electronically transferred software.Telecommunications services consist of telephone and other transmissions of data (such as beeper services, cellular telephone services and telegram services). Cable television and Internet access are exempt from the sales tax. Usually, the tax on the sale or use of telecommunications services is a tax on the transmission of messages or information by various electronic means, but not on the sale or use of data itself.