Court should uphold tax ruling

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.--South Carolina providers expect the state Supreme Court to uphold a judge’s ruling exempting certain HME equipment from a 6% state sales tax.

“It was very explicit,” said Bobby Horton, executive director of the South Carolina Medical Equipment Services Association (SCMESA). “There wasn’t anything ambiguous in his ruling.”

An administrative law judge ruled last year that CPAPs, BiPAPs, ventilators, nebulizers and enteral nutrition should be exempt from sales tax. The decision followed a lawsuit filed by an anonymous company claiming such equipment should be part of a legislative ruling exempting prescription drugs from sales tax because they are associated with medications, Horton said. The department of revenue has appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court.

The court is expected to make a decision before the end of the year, and Horton hopes it will expand the exemption’s reach.

“They may go broad enough to say the legislation intended anything that requires prescriptions by physicians or certificates of medical necessity (CMNs),” he said. “That’s the best of two worlds if we can get it.”