Please state your intentions for buying that pumpkin (and complete form #4675)

October 28, 2007


Now this is scary.  More bizarro tax news courtesy of the Iowa Department of Revenue:

The Department recently refined its position on whether pumpkins are subject to Iowa sales tax to more closely match what we believe to be their predominant use.

In the past, pumpkins were exempt from sales tax as a food (edible squash), even if they were to be later made into jack-o’-lanterns or used as decorations.

Our position now is that pumpkins are taxable if:

1. They are advertised to be used as jack-o’-lanterns/decorations, or
2. It is understood that they will be used as jack-o’-lanterns/decorations

Pumpkins are exempt in the following circumstances:

1. The buyer completes a sales tax exemption certificate stating they will be used as food, or
2. The pumpkins are a specific variety used to make pumpkin pies and are advertised in that way, or
3. They are purchased with Food Stamps.

Retailers who sell pumpkins should keep these guidelines in mind and make any necessary changes to their tax treatment of pumpkin sales.[emphasis added]

Couldn’t the bureaucrats at the IDOR be doing something more productive with their time than divining my reasons for purchasing an Iowa pumpkin?  And why is purchasing a pumpkin with food stamps an exemption?  People on food stamps don’t carve pumpkins?  And what happens if you carve the pumpkin and roast the seeds?  Is that food or fun? 

(h/t the Tax Foundation)


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