S.C. Code Regs. 117-309.8 - Undertakers

Current through Register Vol. 45, No. 9, September 24, 2021

Caskets, grave vaults, shrouds, and other tangible personal property furnished by undertakers and funeral directors in rendering burial services are sold by them at retail. These sales are subject to the sales tax.

Where there is a separation of services from the sale of tangible personal property in invoices rendered, and where receipts from sales and receipts from services are properly identified on the books and records of the undertaker, the sales tax will not apply to receipts accruing from the rendering of such services as embalming, hearse service, transportation of family, etc.

In complying with the provision for the separation of charges, a detailed itemization is not required. A separation, listing items such as caskets, vaults, embalming, hearses, and other expenses, without indicating the amount of each item, but indicating the total amount of the charge, and then indicating the amount of the sales tax would be in compliance with the department's determination, if the invoice also contains a statement evidencing the separation of the charges. As an example, if the sale of the tangible personal property amounts to 50 percent of the total charge, then a statement may be shown on the invoice such as: "For purposes of calculating the South Carolina sales tax, 50 percent of the above charge is determined to be subject to the sales tax as being the sale of tangible personal property."

The department is not saying that 50 percent, or any other percentage, is to be used as a basis of separating the sale of tangible personal property from the sale of service.

Several methods have been approved by the division when percentages are used. There are predicated on (1) The funeral director must establish a fair and reasonable percentage to assure the state of at least the correct amount of the tax. (2) Auditable records must be maintained to enable verification of the accuracy of the percentage used, and (3) The invoice to the customer must have imprinted thereon (by stamp or some other designation) the method used in computing the tax.

South Carolina undertakers and funeral directors incur sales and/or use tax liability by reason of sales and service rendered in South Carolina, regardless of the situs of interment. Out-of-state undertakers and funeral directors incur no sales and/or use tax liability to South Carolina when the only business the out-of-state funeral director or undertaker has within this state is the rendering of burial service.

Where undertakers and funeral directors service burial insurance policies, the measure of the sales tax is the total of receipts from all sources accruing to the undertaker as a result of his furnishing tangible personal property. In some instances the undertaker furnishes caskets or other property, the sales price of which is in excess of the amount covered by the insurance policy, which excess is paid by the family of the deceased. In these instances the total sales price of the substituted property is to be used as the measure of the tax.

Where the undertaker is also the insurer, his use of property in servicing his insurance policies is not a sale of such property. In these instances the undertaker is the purchaser at retail of the property used on which he owes either sales or use tax at the time he purchases the property.

Undertakers purchase property, which they sell at retail as stated above, at wholesale, tax-free.

Undertakers purchase at retail consumable supplies, equipment, and property furnished in servicing their own insurance contracts, which consumable supplies and equipment are taxable to them at the time of purchase, including hearses, ambulances, instruments, tools, fixtures, furniture, all other equipment, embalming fluids, chemicals of all kinds, and all other supplies.


S.C. Code Regs. 117-309.8

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