Bryley Basics (in 100 words): Mass. enacts sales tax on Computer Services

Massachusetts is now one of the few states collecting sales tax on services; the 6.25% tax targets specific computer system design services as of July 31st.

The legislation was approved July 24th, 2013 with the intent to tax customization services; the relevant, broadly worded phrases:

  • “’Computer system design services’, the planning, consulting or designing of computer systems that integrate hardware, software or communications technologies…”
  • “…modification, integration, enhancement, installation, or configuration of standardized software.”

See Section 48 and Section 49 of Chapter 46 of Massachusetts Session Laws at for details.

Fortunately, this legislation was followed on July 25th with guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) in Technical Information Release (TIR) 13-10, which helped to narrow the discussion with these clarifications:

  • “…generally intending to tax software services that modify, enable, or adapt prewritten software to meet the business or technical requirements of a particular purchaser and to operate on the purchaser’s computer systems…”
  • “…may also be described as customization services with respect to prewritten software.”

TI 13-10 also provides guidance on sourcing; when the tax would be applied if the provider or consumer occupies multiple tax jurisdictions.  TIR 13-10 is available at

Jim Livingstone’s Retirement Party

Recently,  after 22 years of outstanding service, Jim Livingstone decided to retire from Bryley Systems, so we decided to throw him a surprise party.    We had such a good time that we wanted to share some of the footage from the party with all of you.

Why are QR codes failing?

Why are QR codes failing?

QR (Quick Response) codes were developed over 20 years ago to track goods and inventory, but are now a marketing technique targeted at on-the-go cellphone users to easily receive information and promotions.  However, only 19% of US cellphones have ever tracked a QR code; plus, most QR codes are scanned at home, usually from a magazine or newspaper.

Problems with QR codes:

  • They are typically displayed improperly and lack consumer enticement
  • They just aren’t that easy to use; they take time and effort to scan

It’s not too late for QR codes, but here are some things that need to change:

  • Advertisers should place QR codes in easy-to-retrieve locations
  • QR-code messaging must include immediate, useful benefits
  • QR-code scanners need to become easy-to-use

Invoke media posted (article no longer appears to be available) to review QR code use on their site, The Blog; they also point out that Mobile Visual Search (MVS), a newer technology that responds with relevant options based on a picture, could work with or even replace QR codes.