In Iowa, Meat Locker Subject to Sales and Use Tax

July 7, 2008 | Roger McEowen


The Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) has issued a policy letter to explain that a meat locker does not qualify as a manufacturer for sale and use tax purposes because its principal business is as a retailer and wholesaler of meats.  IDOR noted that a meat locker serves three types of customers - farmers, other companies and the public.  Farmers have their own animals processed for human consumption, and other companies also have animals processed for human consumption by the general public after purchasing the meat cuts at a retail outlet.  Iowa law exempts from tax the sale of machinery and equipment used in a variety of ways by "manufacturers" - that's a taxpayer with the principal business of manufacturing.  IDOR believes that a meat locker is not a "manufacturer," but rather a retailer or wholesaler of meats (or a combination thereof).  The meat locker does not "manufacture" the meat - it merely processes it.  Thus, machinery and equipment that a meat locker uses in its business is not exempt from Iowa sales and use tax.  (IDOR Policy Letter 08300028 (May 16, 2008)).