Tennessee is considering applying the state's personal property tax to whiskey barrels, even though traditionally such barrels have been exempt from the tax. Kris Tatum, president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild, recently penned an op-ed for the Tennessean opposing the idea:
A few short years ago, Tennessee had three working distilleries in the state. Today, there are more than 40 fully operating or under construction with 30 of those members of our Tennessee Distillers Guild.
The bourbon and American whiskey category is booming, and worldwide demand for our Tennessee Whiskey, which is a top export for our state, has never been higher...
So, what does a group of county tax assessors want to do to celebrate our success?
Well, they want to levy a punitive personal property tax on our whiskey barrels, failing to understand that the barrels are nothing of the sort, but are rather manufactured products.
For more than 150 years, barrels that whiskey makers use to mature whiskey have not been subject to property tax. We build or buy the barrels, fill them with our whiskey to mature, and then sell the used barrels to the Scotch, tequila and wine industries among others...
Read the whole thing here.
UPDATE: Tennessee's legislature appears to be close to passing a bill that will exempt state distilleries from the property tax on whiskey barrels.
UPDATE 2: Legislation exempting distilleries from the tax was officially signed by the governor.