Manufacturer Not Entitled to Exemption on Natural Gas Used for Heating Buildings in Ohio

A manufacturer was not entitled to an exemption on Ohio use tax for purchases of natural gas used to heat its buildings. Ohio provides an exemption for tangible personal property (TPP) used to regulate temperature for items used for environmental regulation in a “special and limited area.” In order for the exemption to apply, the tangible personal property must be used to totally regulate the environment, the regulation must be in a special and limited area of the manufacturing facility, and the regulation must be essential for production to occur. The taxpayer claimed that the natural gas was used in subareas within its buildings, but the heating permeated all parts of the buildings. As a result, the purchases of natural gas were not exempt. The exemption only applies to “special and limited areas” that are physically separated from the rest of the building. Examples of qualifying areas would be clean rooms and paint booths. Additionally, the taxpayer’s purchases of natural gas did not qualify for Ohio’s exemption for a “thing transferred” for use in manufacturing. Per Ohio tax law, use tax does not apply where the purpose of the purchaser is to use the “thing transferred” primarily in a manufacturing operation to produce tangible personal property for sale. The natural gas was used to heat the taxpayer’s buildings, which constitutes temperature regulation. As a result, the natural gas did not qualify as a “thing transferred” for use in manufacturing and did not qualify for Ohio’s more general manufacturing exemption provisions. (East Manufacturing Corporation v. Testa, Ohio Supreme Court, No. 2018-2923, July 26, 2018)

Posted on July 30, 2018