Sales tax exemptions for ATVs can be confusing


January 16, 2006

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Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF)

Columbus, Ohio - True or false: Using an ATV [all-terrain vehicle] to haul feed to your cattle, or to inspect the animals, qualifies for the vehicle to be exempt from state sales tax. 

If you answered true, you're only partly right.

According to the state tax department, using an ATV to check up on your cattle does not qualify as an agriculture exemption to the sales tax.

Hauling feed to the animals is, though. 

What the tax department considers a legitimate agricultural use of ATVs is confusing, and OFBF has fielded several calls recently from members who bought ATVs.

The vehicles are exempt from state sales taxes if they are used more than 51 percent for agriculture, said Larry Gearhardt, OFBF's director of local affairs.

The confusion usually doesn't set in until after you buy an ATV.

After you buy the vehicle at a dealership and mark that it's exempt from state sales taxes, the tax department sends a form asking how you are using the ATV.

The form has a long list of possible uses, and you are asked to rate the percent you use the ATV for each category.

You don't necessarily have to list a percent by every item.

Several of the choices are not considered legitimate agricultural uses by the tax department, Gearhardt said.

"Keep in mind that the tax department has an extremely narrow definition of agriculture for sales tax purposes," Gearhardt said.

"Members need to be extra cautious in determining and predicting how they will use the ATV."

Read more about the sales tax for ATVs in the next issue of Buckeye Farm News.