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21

Paul Nelson Farm near Gettysburg is used to having a Government focus. Dick Cheney, the former Vice President, was known to hunt pheasants at the resort on occasion.

Paul, the owner, markets the resort as a top quality pheasant hunting resort in South Dakota with prices ranging from $4,995 per person in a party of six or more to $6,795 for a single hunter. The prices cover three days worth of hunting with guides and dogs and a bird allowance of five per day. There is also the free use of shotguns, shotgun shells, food, beverages, board and other related services.

These facts were very important when an audit was requested by the state’s Department of Revenue. The importance of those services was again highlighted when the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Paul Nelson Farm.

Paul Nelson Farm had paid sales tax on the packages he sold, but the Department of Revenue thought tax should have been paid for the food, drinks and ammunition. The total amount they were claiming was $17,405.15.

Use tax is a confusing element of the tax system and there are a number of disputes which are raised every year. Sales tax is very simple, when something is paid for the seller remits the sales tax. However, Use tax is tough. When a business buys something for use within the business they are supposed to remit the use tax.

That is of course, unless the business plans to resell the item. Then no tax is to be paid on the item. This was the basic argument which Paul Nelson Farm stated. Their food, drinks and ammunition were not for use by the business but were part of the package they offered.

The two fought it out with the Farm initially losing their case in front of an administrative hearing officer before winning partially on the appeal.

The Revenue Department took the case to the State Supreme Court, where they lost and therefore the hunting resort will not have to pay any further tax.

A good win for the pheasant hunting resort.

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