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Tax Court: Company creates new tool, entitled to exemption

May 15, 2014

The Indiana Tax Court has ruled in favor of a Hammond company in its attempt to exempt certain equipment from the state’s sales and use taxes.

Hoosier Roll Shop Services LLC challenged the denial of the Indiana Department of State Revenue’s final determination denying it an exemption for equipment used and materials consumed in grinding and calibrating its mill customers’ work rolls during the 2007 and 2008 tax years. These work rolls create the proper thickness, flatness, surface texture and luster of the sheet product as it passes through them. The surfaces of the rolls must be ground and calibrated to certain specifications.

The parties’ motions for summary judgment present just one issue for the Tax Court to decide: whether Hoosier Roll produces a new good, thereby entitling it to the exemptions previously mentioned, when it grinds and calibrates work rolls. Hoosier Roll claimed that it does: it takes a work roll, a tool ground and calibrated for a certain use, and, through its grinding and calibration process, creates an entirely new tool for a different use (i.e., a remanufactured work roll). The department argued, however, that Hoosier Roll does not produce a new good, but instead provides a repair service that is designed merely to perpetuate the usable life of the work roll.

Senior Judge Thomas Fisher relied on the four questions outlined in Rotation Products Corporation v. Department of State Revenue, 690 N.E.2d 795 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998), to determine whether a “remanufacturing” or “repairing” process produces a new product. Those questions are: What is the substantiality and complexity of the work done on the existing article and what are the physical changes to the existing article, including the addition of new parts?; How does the article’s value before and after the work compare?; How favorably does the performance of the “remanufactured” article compare with the performance of newly manufactured articles of its kind?; and Was the work performed contemplated as a normal part of the life cycle of the existing article?

Fisher determined that the answer to each of those four questions favors Hoosier Roll. It produces other tangible personal property when it grinds and calibrates its customers’ work rolls. As such, Fisher granted the company’s motion for summary judgment and denied summary judgment in favor of the Department of State Revenue in Hoosier Roll Shop Services, LLC v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, 49T10-1104-TA-29.


 

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