By Marc Simonetti and Douglas Upton

The Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that limestone purchased for the dual purpose of absorbing sulfur during the generation of electricity and producing ash for sale to third parties was excluded from the definition of a “sale at retail” by application of the “further processing exclusion” under the Louisiana sales tax. The court affirmed the application of the three-pronged test enumerated in International Paper, Inc. v. Bridges for determining whether the purchase of raw materials was eligible for the further processing exclusion—namely, whether “1) the raw materials become recognizable and identifiable components of the end products; 2) the raw materials are beneficial to the end products; and 3) the raw materials are materials for further processing and…are purchased with the purpose of inclusion in the end products.” In applying such test to the limestone at issue, the court reversed the judgments of the trial court and court of appeals, holding that the end product into which the raw materials were included need not be the primary product produced and that the raw material’s inclusion in the sold end product need not be the primary purpose for which the taxpayer purchased the raw material for the exclusion to apply. Rather, it was sufficient for purposes of the exclusion that the inclusion of the raw material into a sold by-product was a purpose for which the taxpayer purchased the raw material. Bridges v. Nelson Indus. Steam Co., __So.2d__, No. 2015-C-1439 (La. May 3, 2016).