Q&A with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue
What criteria does the DOR use to determine how and when a taxpayer is accessing taxable canned software vs. a non-taxable service?
Information retrieval services, where the vendor maintains a database which the purchaser may search for information, are not subject to tax as the purchaser is buying access to that database or information. This would include services such as CCH, RIA or LexisNexis.
Where the vendor is supplying access to canned software through which a purchaser may manipulate data either supplied by purchaser or the vendor this is a taxable transaction. In this case the purchaser is buying software used to manipulate data as opposed to the purchasing data.