Dentist Challenges Tax

Arizona – A dentist in Chandler is fighting the city’s effort to collect sales tax on Invisalign braces arguing that they are prosthetic medical devices not subject to tax. Invisaligns are custom-made, clear, removable covers that realign teeth and cost about $5,000, according to the manufacturer’s website. Municipal sales tax on that amount would be $75; combined state, county and city sales taxes would be $440.

A municipal auditor is defending the investigation saying it came out of one of his office’s routine efforts to find and collect unreported taxes.

Lee Grafstrom, Chandler tax auditor, says braces don’t meet the definition of tax-exempt medical “prosthetic” devices because they “do not support a part of the human body or enhance one of the senses. In other words, the patient’s teeth are not being held in the mouth by the trays or braces and the teeth function with or without any type of dental braces.”

Traditional metal braces, are usually exempt from sales taxes because they are sold as less than 15 percent of the dentist’s total charge. Invisalign is a much higher percentage.

Although the tax on Invisalign would be sales, not use, tax, Grafstrom said the issue came to light during an examination of Hunsaker’s equipment purchases.