Maryland's 6 percent sales and use tax applies to charges for security services, including residential and commercial monitoring, private detective, armored car, guard dog, bodyguard and private guard services. However, the tax does not apply to charges for installing security systems in commercial and residential property, whether or not the installer will later provide monitoring services. These are improvements to the realty.
As is the case in all other contracts for the improvement of real property, installers of security systems must pay the tax on the materials installed on a customer's premises.
COMAR Regulation 03.06.01.39 - Detective, Guard, Armored Car Services and Security System has been amended to clarify the types of security equipment, used in security service monitoring, that is subject to Maryland's sales and use tax.
Specifically, equipment that is used to operate or monitor a security system or functions independently as a standalone electronic device, whether wired to the security or wireless, and is normally treated as tangible personal property, does not become part of the realty and therefore is subject to the tax. Examples of such equipment include: computers, laptops, VCRs, DVDs, cameras, monitors, and televisions. To review Regulation 03.06.01.39, see COMAR Online.
Installers or sellers of tangible personal property included in or as part of a commercial or residential security systems shall separately state the charge for the tangible personal property on any invoice, contract of sale, or lease, and shall charge the sales and use tax to the purchaser. Installers or sellers of items that do not become part of the realty may issue their suppliers a resale certificate to purchase the tangible personal property without charging the sales and use tax.
Providers of security services who are not registered to collect the sales and use tax may register for a sales and use tax license online.
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