St. Louis Public Radio News
2:58 pm
Wed March 26, 2003

Court Considers Challenge to Taxes on Caskets

Jefferson City, MO – When does someone own a casket? That's
the underlying issue pending before the Missouri Supreme Court.

The high court heard a challenge on whether customers should have to pay sales taxes on caskets. Funeral homes
traditionally have collected sales taxes and sent them to the state.

But a decision by an administrative hearing judge recently reversed that. The case is now on appeal to the state Supreme
Court.

The state contends a customer owns casket when a contract is signed with a funeral home -- and that the sales tax should be paid just as if the customer bought a TV or some clothes.

A St. Louis funeral home contends the customer does not own the casket until it's buried. If that's the case, the casket become part of the real estate -- so sales taxes cannot be charged to the
customer.