Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, No. SC 94109

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtZel M. Fischer, Judge
Citation452 S.W.3d 628
PartiesFred Weber, Inc., Respondent, v. Director of Revenue, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. SC 94109
Decision Date13 January 2015

452 S.W.3d 628

Fred Weber, Inc., Respondent
v.
Director of Revenue, Appellant.

No. SC 94109

Supreme Court of Missouri, en banc .

Opinion issued January 13, 2015


Deputy Solicitor General Jeremiah J. Morgan, Attorney General's Office, Jefferson City, for Director.

Aarnardian “Apollo” D. Carey, Anthony J. Soukenik, Jesse B. Rochman, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard PC, St. Louis, for Weber.

Opinion

Zel M. Fischer, Judge

Fred Weber, Inc. (“Weber”), a Missouri corporation that operates quarries and asphalt plants, petitioned the Director of Revenue (“Director”) for a sales tax refund under § 144.054.2.1 Weber sold rock base and asphalt from its quarries and asphalt plants to Byrne and Jones Enterprises, and Leritz Contracting, Inc. (collectively “paving companies”) to be used to construct and resurface roads and parking lots. Weber claimed the resurfacing “process” qualified for the exemption. The Director denied the refund, and Weber appealed to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). The AHC reversed the decision of the Director and entered a decision in favor of Weber. The Director petitioned this Court to review the decision of the AHC. The AHC misapplied § 144.054.2.; therefore, its decision is reversed.

Factual and Procedural Background

After Weber sold rock base and asphalt to the paving companies, it loaded the rock base and asphalt onto dump trucks and delivered it to construction sites. The paving companies then used the rock base as a foundation for the asphalt. The asphalt was approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit upon delivery and had to be poured into place before cooling to a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The paving companies did this by using a special piece of equipment called a “paver,” which is designed to evenly distribute the asphalt across a section of the rock base. They then used 10–ton rollers and other heavy machinery to compact and level the asphalt before it finally cooled in place.

From October 2008 to September 2009, Weber sold the paving companies approximately $2.6 million worth of rock base and asphalt. In 2011, Weber filed an application for a sales tax refund, under § 144.054.2, of $139,654.62 for those sales. The director denied the request, and Weber appealed to the AHC. The AHC reversed, concluding that Weber qualified for the sales tax exemption under § 144.054.2. The Director petitioned this Court for review of the AHC's decision.

Analysis

This case involves the construction of a revenue law, providing this Court with exclusive appellate jurisdiction. Mo. Const. art. V, § 3 ; see also § 621.189. The AHC ruled in favor of Weber because it concluded that the paving companies were engaged in “manufacturing,” “processing,” “compounding,” or “producing” of a product, entitling Weber to a refund of sales tax paid on the products it sold to the paving companies. This Court reviews the AHC's interpretation of a revenue

452 S.W.3d 630

statute de novo. AAA Laundry & Linen Supply Co. v. Dir. of Revenue, 425 S.W.3d 126, 128 (Mo. banc 2014). The AHC's decision will be upheld if authorized by law and supported by substantial and competent evidence on the record as a whole, if no mandatory procedural safeguard is violated, and if the affirmation of the AHC's decision does not create a result clearly contrary to the General Assembly's reasonable expectations when it delegated authority to the AHC. Section 621.193, RSMo 2000.

A taxpayer must show by “clear and unequivocal proof” that it qualifies for an exemption, and all doubts are resolved against the taxpayer.Id. Section 144.054.2 exempts the following from sales tax:

[E]lectrical energy and gas, whether natural, artificial, or propane, water, coal, and energy sources, chemicals, machinery, equipment, and materials used or consumed in the manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing of any product, or used or consumed in the processing of recovered materials, or used in research and development related to manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing any product....

The primary rule of statutory interpretation is to give effect to the General Assembly's intent as reflected in the plain language of the statute at issue. Parktown Imports, Inc. v. Audi of Am., Inc., 278 S.W.3d 670, 672 (Mo. banc 2009). This Court interprets statutes in a way that is not hyper-technical but, instead, is...

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6 practice notes
  • State v. Smith, No. SC 97811
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 14, 2020
    ...is not hyper-technical but, instead, is reasonable and logical and gives meaning to the statute." Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 628, 630 (Mo. banc 2015) .The principal opinion today holds that " section 304.015 makes no exceptions" for momentary or minor deviations onto th......
  • Boland v. Saint Luke's Health Sys., Inc., No. SC 93906
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • August 18, 2015
    ...is to give effect to the legislature's intent as reflected in the plain language of the statute. See Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue,452 S.W.3d 628, 630 (Mo. banc 2015). Though it is rendered somewhat tertiary in light of the 471 S.W.3d 713plain language of section 537.100 and precedent......
  • Ben Hur Steel Worx, LLC v. Dir. of Revenue, No. SC 94209
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 13, 2015
    ...materials (2) during the manufacturing, processing, compounding, or producing (3) of a product. Fred Weber, Inc. v. Director of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 628, No. SC94109, 2015 WL 161751 (Mo. banc 2015). The taxpayer has the burden of proof. Aquila Foreign Qualifications Corp. v. Dir. of Revenue,......
  • Lee's Summit License, LLC v. Office of Admin., WD 78694
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 19, 2016
    ...demonstrated ability to address the subject of retention of collected fees when it desires to do so. Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 628, 631 (Mo. banc 2015) (noting that General Assembly has demonstrated its ability to exempt certain activities from taxation such that its a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State v. Smith, No. SC 97811
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 14, 2020
    ...is not hyper-technical but, instead, is reasonable and logical and gives meaning to the statute." Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 628, 630 (Mo. banc 2015) .The principal opinion today holds that " section 304.015 makes no exceptions" for momentary or minor deviations onto th......
  • Boland v. Saint Luke's Health Sys., Inc., No. SC 93906
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • August 18, 2015
    ...is to give effect to the legislature's intent as reflected in the plain language of the statute. See Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue,452 S.W.3d 628, 630 (Mo. banc 2015). Though it is rendered somewhat tertiary in light of the 471 S.W.3d 713plain language of section 537.100 and precedent......
  • Ben Hur Steel Worx, LLC v. Dir. of Revenue, No. SC 94209
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 13, 2015
    ...materials (2) during the manufacturing, processing, compounding, or producing (3) of a product. Fred Weber, Inc. v. Director of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 628, No. SC94109, 2015 WL 161751 (Mo. banc 2015). The taxpayer has the burden of proof. Aquila Foreign Qualifications Corp. v. Dir. of Revenue,......
  • Lee's Summit License, LLC v. Office of Admin., WD 78694
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 19, 2016
    ...demonstrated ability to address the subject of retention of collected fees when it desires to do so. Fred Weber, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 628, 631 (Mo. banc 2015) (noting that General Assembly has demonstrated its ability to exempt certain activities from taxation such that its a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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