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158333, 158335 - Tomra of North America, Inc. v Dep't of Treasury

Tomra of North America, Inc.,


June Summers Haas





(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)



(Ct of Claims – Talbot, M.)


Department of Treasury,


Randi Merchant





Plaintiff is in the business of selling and leasing container recycling machines, which are commonly located in grocery stores for use by customers to return bottles and cans for recycling.  Plaintiff and the Department of Treasury dispute whether plaintiff is required to pay sales and use tax for container recycling machines that plaintiff sells and leases to its Michigan customers.  The dispute requires a determination whether plaintiff’s container recycling machines are used in an “industrial processing activity,” which would mean that an industrial processing exemption applies under either the General Sales Tax Act (GSTA), MCL 205.54t, or the Use Tax Act (UTA), MCL 205.94o.  The Court of Claims granted summary disposition to the defendant, holding that the container recycling machines are not used in an industrial processing activity, so plaintiff is not entitled to the statutory exemption.  In a split published opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings.  The Supreme Court has granted the defendant’s applications for leave to appeal. ​