The taxman in Iowa is going after 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.
The new policy, published in the department’s September newsletter, has some pumpkin farmers feeling tricked this Halloween.
“I don’t mind paying taxes, but let’s get real here, people,” said Bob Kautz, owner of the Buffalo Pumpkin Patch in Buffalo, just west of Davenport.