JEFFERSON CITY — What's the difference between preparing and manufacturing something? For Missouri restaurants, the difference amounts to thousands of dollars.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that restaurants cannot claim a tax exemption for the purchase of tables, chairs, plates and kitchen equipment.
A company that owns 23 Missouri restaurants wanted to claim more than $40,000 in tax breaks. It cited a law exempting sales and use taxes on equipment used to manufacture products.
In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled restaurants do not qualify because food is prepared — not manufactured.
Chief Justice William Ray Price Jr. was the lone dissenter. He said preparing food is manufacturing, and the majority decision was using an unduly narrow definition.