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Farm equipment repair still a taxing situation

By Carlienne A. Frisch Freelance writer

Despite comments by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton that he was open to scrapping the sales tax on farm equipment repair that took effect July 1, the Minnesota Legislature did not address the issue in a special session on Sept. 9.

Over the past couple of months, the tax has gotten mixed reviews. Some farmers and equipment dealers say it’s a nuisance, if not a burden, while others consider it just another aspect of doing business.

Kraig DeJong, manager of Arnold’s of Willmar, said, “Customers have read up on it and know it’s not the dealers doing it. But it’s difficult knowing which services to tax. If we have a trade-in combine, then it’s our inventory that’s run through the shop, so there’s no tax to us. The more rules and regulations there are the more work it is for employees.”

Paal Haug of Haug Implement Company agreed, saying, “It’s hard to manage because some items are taxable and some are not, and some people or businesses are taxable and some are not. There can be a lot of opportunity for error.”

According to Scott Neuhaus, Schlauderaff Implement service and warranty manager, the tax is not much of a problem. “We implemented the tax and heard no complaints since it went into effect,” he said. “It’s not a huge part of a farmer’s budget.”

Austin Blad, a farmer who grows corn and soybeans in Meeker and Renville counties, had a different perspective. “The tax has created a lot of controversy,” he said, “and was a significant cost increase for us.”