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Ruling 91-12

Medical Equipment


Company designs, manufactures and markets various surgical instruments primarily related to two major surgical areas: wound closure and laparoscopic surgery.

Products used in wound closure include both disposable and non-disposable instruments which apply surgical staples or clips and may, prospectively include suture materials applied to internal or external tissue or bodily parts. Such products may consist of both a cartridge device housing staples or clips and a delivery mechanism in the nature of a staple "gun" or clip applier.

Additional products consist of the wound closure material itself, i.e. the surgical staples, clips or suture materials, as well as products used to remove the staples.

Products used in laparoscopic surgery consist of instruments which make incisions, provide portals or tubes through which surgeons pass lighting and camera devices as well as surgical instruments to perform surgical procedure, and support the laparoscopic surgical procedures.


Are the sales of the products described herein used in wound closure and in laparoscopic surgery subject to sales and use taxes.


Company must charge sales tax on its products sold to doctors and veterinarians. The professions engaged in the healing arts are consumers of tangible personal property which they purchase for use in the exercise of their profession and must pay sales and use tax on such purchases. Veterinarians are treated in a similar manner. It makes no difference whether the instruments used by doctors or veterinarians are disposable or reusable or whether the staples, clips or sutures are used internally or externally.

The sale of tangible personal property to nonprofit charitable hospitals for the exclusive purposes of such institutions are exempt from sales and use taxes under Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-412(5). In addition, purchases by certain health care centers defined in Chapter 698a of the General Statutes are exempted under Conn. Gen. Stat. §38a-207 and §38a-224.



April 8, 1991