Ship Unloaders on Rails Denied Rolling Stock Exemption in Texas

A taxpayer’s purchase of parts for its ship unloaders that operated on rails did not qualify for the Texas rolling stock exemption from sales and use tax. The taxpayer, an aluminum oxide manufacturer, used the equipment to unload materials from the ships onto conveyors for further processing. Texas state statue exempts from sales tax rolling stock, locomotives, and fuel and supplies essential to the operation of locomotives and trains. The taxpayer alleged that the unloaders had similar parts as trains and traveled by rolling on two rails which supported them, and therefore should be exempt from sales and use tax. The Court rejected the taxpayer’s argument and found that ship unloaders were not traditional railroad equipment. In addition, the exemption did not apply because the taxpayer was not a licensed and certified common carrier, (Reynolds Metals Company v. Combs, Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, No. 03-07-00709-CV, February 4, 2009)

Posted on March 3, 2009