Missouri Supreme Court rules against tax break for restaurants

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | 3:57 p.m. CDT; updated 9:21 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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.


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