One state triumphs, others still in the hunt

Sunday, May 31, 2009

FRANKFORT, Ky.--The battle to get all DME exempt from sales and use taxes is over in Kentucky, but it rages on in other states like South Carolina and Washington.

In March, in the last remaining days of a short legislative session, Kentucky’s House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill that makes all DME exempt from the state’s 6% sales tax. Right now, some DME is (oxygen concentrators) and some isn’t (CPAP devices). The change goes into effect July 1, 2009.

“We had an active campaign - providers were calling their lawmakers not one time, but multiple times,” said Wayne Knewasser, president of the Kentucky Medical Equipment Suppliers Association (KMESA).

KMESA has worked to get all DME exempt from the sales tax for years. The difference this year: It was able to get language attached to a larger bill, H.B. 347, that streamlines the state’s sales tax.

South Carolina

Providers here are still awaiting a state Supreme Court’s decision on whether to uphold an administrative law judge’s ruling exempting CPAPs, BiPAPs, vents, nebulizers and enteral nutrition from a 6% sales tax.

“We were hoping for a ruling in early spring,” said Bobby Horton, executive director of the South Carolina Medical Equipment Services Association (SCMESA). “We anticipate it will be favorable.”


The Pacific Association for Medical Equipment Suppliers (PAMES) has several bills that seek to exempt all DME from the state’s 8.9% sales tax before the House and Senate.

“I think they will look at an exemption in the future, but with an $8.5 billion deficit, I don’t think it’s going to be this session,” said Tom Coogan, immediate past president of PAMES. “But we’re doing our best to be as mouthy as possible.”