Taxes

Iowa Slaps on Pumpkin Tax, Eyes Trick-or-Treaters' Untaxed Bounty

|

You weren't going to eat those, were you?

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.

I think they're misguided. I've carved one pumpkin in about the last ten years. But I eat as much of the delicious gourd as I possibly can while it's still in season. In fact, I say fall hasn't officially arrived until Dunkin' Donuts unveils its exquisite, limited-time-only "pumpkin spice" variety of fried doughy goodness.

NEXT: Lessons from Abroad

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. In fact, I say fall hasn’t officially arrived until Dunkin’ Donuts unveils its exquisite, limited-time-only “pumpkin spice” variety of fried doughy goodness.

    Radley, you’re just BEGGING them to slap a fat tax on it when you say stuff like that. Keep your mouth shut! And if you have trouble keeping your mouth shut about this, chew on a doughnut.

  2. “We made the change because we wanted the sales tax law to match what we thought the predominant use was,” Mulvey said.

    They made the change because they wanted the extra money – who in hell do they think they’re kidding?

  3. Exquisite and sublime, I’d say, and me a loyal Krispy Kreme fan!

    To quote Mahatmaguru Homer Simpson, “Ummmm, doughnuts.”

  4. Here’s my personal favorite pumpkin-based consumable good.

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

    ^&%$*&&*()&

    What is wrong with people? Remind me that when I take over that Renee Mulvey should be held down and tazed until she shits her pants.

  6. You have not lived until you’ve had Momma Warty’s (she has no warts) homemade pumpkin pie. The secret ingredient? Bacon.

  7. I am so fucking glad I left that shithole.

    Iowa is absolutely the armpit of America.

  8. Ichabod Crane is behind this.

  9. People wait all year for my pumpkin pies made from pumpkin. It’s a pain in the ass, but they taste like real food.

    Then, they begin hinting that it’s about time for me to whip up a batch of my great-aunt’s artery-clogging, inflammable eggnog. Which is so potent that I tremble lest I am pulled over while transporting it.

    Taxing pumpkins instead of treating them as food is contemptible money-grubbing.

  10. I second the Punkin Ale comment. That is one delicious beer.

  11. Episiarch | October 31, 2007, 1:22pm | #

    Ichabod Crane is behind this.

    I have a horse, and this might just cause me to lose my head….

  12. I have a batch of Pumpkin Ale fermenting right now. Goes in the bottle Saturday. Should be just starting to peak right about Turkey Day.

  13. If you promise to eat the cigarettes you buy, do you get a tax break?

  14. “We made the change because we wanted the sales tax law to match what we thought the predominant use was,”

    I can imagine how this was said…

    “…we wanted the sales tax…” Pause “…to match…”

  15. Iowa suks! They should make some real money and tax churches the “income” they earn from the “donations”

  16. The new department policy was implemented after officials decided that pumpkins are used primarily for Halloween decorations, not food, and should be taxed,

    The sruirrels in my neck of the woods vehemently disagree. They consider carved, even painted pumpkins quite a feast. Why don’t Iowans think about the squirrel children?!

  17. I just bought a box of macaroni so my kids can glue them onto paper and make pretty designs. Should I go back to the grocery store and pay the sales tax because I’m not intending to eat the macaroni?

  18. I enjoy eating light bulbs. Can I fill out a special form for that?

  19. PIN 55616: Yes. You definitely should pay that sales tax. You’re defrauding the government if you don’t.

    While we’re at it, if you use beans to weigh down a pie crust–food or baking accessory? Rice in the salt shaker or at a wedding? Baking soda in the ‘fridge? Bread bowl you don’t finish eating? Popcorn at Christmas? Flour left on counter after rolling dough? Peels of vegetables and fruit? Etc, etc…

    Besides, even when my mother would buy a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern (her primary purpose), she would still make her delightful pumpkin dessert bars and toasted pumpkin seeds.

    I also love pumpkin ale.

  20. When I was a kid we used to make paste out of flower and water. I guess we should have paid a tax on the flour, because we didn’t eat it.

  21. Don’t forget roasted pumpkin seeds, which are incredibly good for you.

  22. Why don’t Iowans think about the squirrel children?!

    Look like bushy-tailed rats to me! 🙂

  23. Look like bushy-tailed rats to me!

    But they’re CUTE bushy tailed rats. Cuteness overrides multiple sins. Even being in the oreder Rodentia. It’s a fact! Look it up.

  24. Oh, this is rich. My guess is that Renee’s got her eye on all that untaxed and subsidized corn that will not be consumed but instead used for Ethanol production. Pumpkins are just the warm-up act.

  25. Warren, care to post the recipe on the ale? Or would you have to kill us?

  26. Yeah, Warren post it!

  27. Yeah, Warren!

    and never, ever call it “Turkey Day” again.

    CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED

    🙂

  28. Mr Moose, That was EVIL! Just for that, you are going to DIE!

  29. I am, after all, Minion of URKOBOLD, so “consider yourself warned” could be anything from that, above to this hot chick

    hrumph.

  30. and never, ever call it “Turkey Day” again.

    CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED

    “Everyone is beautiful in their own way!” ???

    (But some ways are more beautiful than others.)

  31. But they’re CUTE bushy tailed rats. Cuteness overrides multiple sins. Even being in the oreder Rodentia. It’s a fact! Look it up.

    What fact am I to look up – that they’re rodents? I already knew that; that’s probably why they look like rats!

  32. Only members of the Clean Plate Club don’t pay taxes.

  33. and so begins the “War on Halloween” … those bastards!

  34. What fact am I to look up …

    This fact Cuteness trumps all!

  35. J Sub:

    some parts trump more than others
    (the snake one is pretty rad!)

    🙂

  36. Many agreements on the pumpkin doughnuts, but my favorite use of the orange squash is pumpkin cheesecake. No, sadly, I don’t have a recipe, but I can recommend the pumpkin cake Emeril made on his show last night. (There are some small benefits to a nasty case of the ‘flu. Wresting the remote away from my husband and sons is one.) I’ll definitely try the pumpkin ale, too.

    Actually, the only effect I’ve had from this entire thread is a sudden attack of hunger for nutmeg-flavored things. . . .

  37. Oh, and VM’s cuteoverload link is more relevant than I’m sure he realizes. The cat lounging on the dish drying rack is named “pumpkin.”

  38. The defense rests!

  39. I brew the way I cook, I start with a recipe and then adjust as desired. This year’s pumpkin ale as best I can recall:

    6 small pie pumpkins, gutted, pealed, cut into squares and roasted at 300 for an hour. Lightly mashed with potato masher.

    add pumpkin to gallon of water and 1 lb of 6row cracked barley bring to 150 for one hour. Sparge with 170 water. I have three gallons in my brew pot and another gallon of sweet wort off to the side that didn’t fit.

    bring to boil, add 3lbs pale spray dried malt, 3lbs amber spraydried malt, 1/2 lb of molasses, 1/2lb of honey. then 0.5 oz of bittering hops (appx 9% alpha). Boil for half hour. then add:
    0.5 oz aromatic hops (4% alpha)
    1Tbs whole cloves
    1Tbs Allspice
    6 sticks cinnimon
    (spices coarsely ground)
    1 small hand grated ginger
    0.5 tsp gypsum
    0.25 tsp salt
    boil 15 min
    add 1tsp spanish moss
    boil 12 min.
    add 0.5 oz aromatic hops
    boil 3 min
    Take off heat and cool in ice bath. Put in fermenter. Add rest of wort. Fill to 5 gal with fresh water.
    pitch with WYeast british ale yeast.

    I’m a little worried about my hops, it was left over from my last brew. I have to drive 100 miles, to St Louis to get supplies and still there’s only one decent brew shop. They won’t sell 1oz of hops (2oz only).

  40. Thanks Warren!

  41. that was indeed the best Kitteh and rack! (didn’t notice the name, but did notice the baby moose on the pharm animal section)

    🙂

  42. The baby moose were completely adorable. I now want to go to Russia to the moose farm. The mini-donkeys were impossibly cute also. Thanks for the link, VM!

  43. Is it taxed by weight? Because last night we carved four pumpkins and took all the seeds we scooped out of them and roasted them and ate them.

    So do I pay tax on the seeds only? Or on the goop + seeds? Do I weigh them before or after roasting (they’re gonna lose a lot of weight from moisture loss)?

    Maybe I should weigh the jack o’ lanterns instead. But then I’d be skipping out on the taxes on the eyeholes and mouth.

    My smaller dog likes to chew on pumpkins. If I feed them to him afterwards, does that count as a food use?

  44. They made the change because they wanted the extra money – who in hell do they think they’re kidding?

    You paranoid anti-government types:
    The tax is to discourage young people from taking up pumpkin carving while inducing current pumpkin carvers to quit.Our sympathies are with the poor addicted pumpkin carvers so we are actually taxing Big Pumpkin.

  45. …only outlaws will kin pump.

  46. They should pile all the now older and semi rotting pumpkins on the steps of the lawmakers that came up with this crap. If they thought getting 6% of each pumpkin sale was good then they will be ecstatic to get the whole pumpkins back as well.

    They should stack those things as high as they can. Then they should make sure none of the politicians who came up with this bullshit get sent home next time they are up for election.

    Pumpkingate, when will it end.

  47. Iowa governor rescinded the punkin’ tax last night. I don’t know how the refunds will work, though.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.