Ventilation System Does Not Qualify for Manufacturing Exemption in Wyoming

A pile ventilation system purchased by a beet processing plant was denied a manufacturing equipment exemption from Wyoming sales and use tax because it did not qualify as machinery that operated directly and predominantly in manufacturing. The plant processed beets into marketable products including sugar and molasses. The ventilation system kept the beets cool and dry, without freezing, to ensure minimal sugar loss. The system enhanced sugar extraction by maintaining the beets at an optimal temperature prior to extraction of sugar, but the system itself did not produce an article. The system was not necessary for the facility to accomplish its intended function since it was only recently purchased to enhance sugar recovery and the plant had operated successfully for years prior to the purchase. The ventilation system was not “machinery.” The system was not performing “manufacturing” since it did not itself transform the beets into a new product, article, or substance. Under the statute, “Manufacturing” means the operation of producing a new product, article, substance or commodity different from and having a distinctive nature, character or use from the raw or prepared material. No manufacturing has begun during the cooling process. The cooling process is considered a pre-processing or raw material storage function. The system was not used “directly and predominantly in manufacturing” since the manufacturing process began after the beets were removed from the pile ventilation system and moved into the processing plant.(In the Matter of the Appeal of Wyoming Sugar Company, LLC, Wyoming State Board of Equalization, No. 2015-49, December 14, 2016)

Posted on January 3, 2017