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.
They're not entirely wrong--the orange pumpkins aren't very good for cooking and eating--but the "fill out a form" just trips my Unnecessary BS Meter. WTF business is it of the state what I do with a vegetable when I take it home?? I use them to grow fuzzy mold colonies, but they're still vegetables...
The state is collecting 20-40 cents on each pumpkin. The cost of processing the form (nevermind the cost of creating it and distributing it to retailers) is going to exceed the---OH. YEAH. They expect most people (including the retailers) to be ignorant of the procedure and/or too busy to get their dollar back (or too polite to hog a cashier lane filling out the form at Hy-Vee on a Saturday morning while a line forms behind them).
Pumpkins are exempt in the following circumstances:
* The buyer completes a sales tax exemption certificate stating they will be used as food, or
* The pumpkins are a specific variety used to make pumpkin pies and are advertised in that way, or
* They are purchased with Food Stamps.
It's OK to use taxpayer money to pay for your decorations; people using their own money to buy a pumpkin must be taxed.
And if food isn't really a food unless it's eaten, I expect to see a tax on cucumbers and bananas used in sex classes, eggs used for vandalism, and all those government surplus carrots in school lunchroom garbage cans (the barrel where we dumped our uneaten slop in elementary school still haunts me).