When the Tax Is On the Punkin', In the Corn State It's A Shock

Weird news, weird news. Topical for today, this story from Iowa: Tax Law: Are You Eating Those Pumpkins?

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Revenue is taxing jack-o'-lanterns this Halloween. The new department policy was implemented after officials decided that pumpkins are used primarily for Halloween decorations, not food, and should be taxed, said Renee Mulvey, the department's spokeswoman.

"We made the change because we wanted the sales tax law to match what we thought the predominant use was," Mulvey said. "We thought the predominant use was for decorations or jack-o'-lanterns."

Previously, pumpkins had been considered an edible squash and exempted from the tax. The department ruled this year that pumpkins are taxable - with some exceptions - if they are advertised for use as jack-'o-lanterns or decorations.

Iowans planning to eat pumpkins can still get a tax exemption if they fill out a form.

Question: Will Iowa tax peppermint candy canes in December? After all, most people will be using them to decorate Christmas trees. (Yes, on this blog, they are still called "Christmas trees," not "holiday trees," political correctness be damned!) Sure, they'll eat them afterwards, but the candy canes are still primarily for decorative purposes.

Filling out a form to get small change back (six cents on the dollar for whatever the pumpkin cost) would undoubtedly be too much effort for the average Iowan, which is probably what the bureaucrats are hoping for. The cost of the postage to send in the form for a tax refund would probably be more than they would get back, so what's the point? But personally, I'd love to see each and every person who is charged that sales tax turn around and fill one of those forms out and send it in, just on general principles. The rules say that you're not supposed to tax food. And folks,

this is food.