Lawn Care Company Does Not Qualify for Michigan Agricultural Exemption

A company that provides lawn and ornament plant care services did not qualify for Michigan’s agricultural exemption. The company argued that it was eligible for the exemption since its activities satisfy the plain language of the statute, since the company is engaged in “tilling, planting…[and] caring for…things of the soil.” It further argued that agricultural production is not required by the statute. The statute states that the exemption applies to “the tilling, planting, caring for, or harvesting of the things of the soil or in the breeding, raising, or caring for livestock, poultry, or horticultural products, including transfers of livestock, poultry, or horticultural products for further growth.” Upon review of the statute, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that the phrases adjoining “planting” and “caring for things of the soil” incentivize investment in agriculture. The grass that the taxpayer plants and tends is decorative, and the work it does is unrelated to crop cultivation or agriculture in general. As such, the taxpayer did not qualify for the exemption. (Trugreen Limited Partnership v. Department of Treasury, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 344142, April 10, 2020)

Posted on April 29, 2020