Indiana Grants Predominant Use Exemption to Utilities Purchase

A restaurant franchisee’s purchase of electricity qualified for Indiana’s predominant use exemption and was therefore exempt from Indiana use tax because the taxpayer produced documentation showing a higher exemption rate for utility usage than was originally determined by the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) under audit. To qualify for Indiana’s predominant use exemption, a utility purchaser must show that it used more than 50% of the utility as an essential and integral part of an integrated production process. Under audit, the DOR had determined that the taxpayer’s exempt usage rate as 42% based on the standard utility study applicable to similar establishments, thus disqualifying the purchase from the predominant use exemption. The taxpayer presented documentation showing that the DOR’s load factor calculations were understated for many pieces of equipment. The taxpayer also contested the “demand factors” used by the DOR. The taxpayer also provided statements from manufacturers, franchise equipment installers and repairmen to protest the DOR’s understated load factors. The taxpayer provided manufacturer documentation to verify these statements thereby meeting the burden of providing the DOR’s proposed assessment wrong. As a result of the documentation provided by the taxpayer, the DOR’s assessment was reversed and the taxpayer’s purchase of electricity was granted the predominant use exemption. (Letter of Findings No. 04-20170443, Indiana Department of Revenue, March 28, 2018)

Posted on May 10, 2018