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Supreme Court Ignores Law – Rules Against Taxpayers

March 6 – Today, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its ruling in a case involving interpretation of section 144.054, RSMo.  That section contains an exemption from state sales and use taxes for utilities, machinery and equipment used in processing, manufacturing, compounding or producing any product.  That language was drafted by Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) and signed into law in 2007.  The Administrative Hearing Commission had correctly found the taxpayer, Casey’s General Stores, was entitled to the exemption because they produce products, including pizzas, at their stores.  Missouri’s Supreme Court overruled the Commission by a vote of 5-2, with the Chief Justice dissenting.

The Supreme Court chose to ignore the specific language adopted by the Missouri Legislature in section 144.054 and called the language “ambiguous”, even though a simple reading of the statute and the plain meaning of the words should have been enough for the Court to find the taxpayer was exempt. “Although we have become accustomed to absurd and ridiculous rulings from the Missouri Supreme Court, this ruling is stunning,” said AIM president Ray McCarty.  “I do not know how much clearer I could have drafted the language. It should have been easily understood by these highly educated Justices, but they obviously did not understand.”

For a copy of the decision, click here.

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