Please select either question (a) or question (b). Do NOT answer both questions.
a. Mr. William Randolph Hearst is an entrepreneur based in California. He owns many newspaper-publishing companies in California. Mr. Hearst contracted with several syndicates in California for its supply of comic strips. The syndicates carry out these contracts by sending Mr. Hearst fiber mats bearing impressions of the current sequence of strips. These mats are manufactured by the syndicates, from the original drawings, by a photo-engraving process. Mr. Hearst uses the mats in the first of a series of operations culminating in the production of a metal plate from which the comic page is printed. Mr. Hearst pays the syndicates for the comic strip mats sums, which are greatly in excess of the price of blank mats. Was this transaction subject to sales tax?
b. The Ashram is a retirement community in Davis, California. Next to the Ashram is the Ashram Church. The Ashram operates as a non-profit corporation having obtained tax-exempt status from both the federal and state taxing authorities. In determining whether to accept an applicant for residence in the Ashram, the board of directors considered the applicant's moral character, the recommendation of the Ashram church, and his/her physical and financial condition. Residents make a one-time nonrefundable donation to the Ashram of $100,000, which guaranteed lifetime healthcare. The residents also pay a modest monthly maintenance fees ranging from $300.00-$500.00 per month. Residents of efficiency apartments in the Ashram were not requested to make the "one-time donation" but they paid $700.00 per month. Officials of the Ashram did not recall refusing an applicant for residents due to inability to pay the fees, yet the ability to pay was a factor in the evaluation of an application. The Ashram claimed that the property was exempt because it was used purely and exclusively for religious and /or charitable purpose. California disagrees and the matter is now before you for a decision.