A. Schulman, Inc. v. Levin – Case Brief Summary (Ohio)

The taxpayer in A. Schulman, Inc. v. Levin, 116 Ohio St.3d 105, 2007 Ohio 5585, P6, 876 N.E.2d 928, produced plastic resins and compounds.

The facility manager for the company testified at the BTA hearing that the company heated resin and other materials inside "barrel and screw" devices such that the mixture would melt and turn into taffy-like molten plastic.

He testified that the screw inside the barrel would convey the material to the die at the end of the barrel, and the molten plastic would then go through the die, which would shape the plastic into small pellets. Id. at P10.

In light of this testimony, the Supreme Court held that the BTA had erred in finding that the barrel and screw devices were dies exempt from taxation.

The Supreme Court found that the facility manager testified that the barrel and screw devices would "stay the same" even as different dies were placed at the end of the barrel to produce plastic pellets of different sizes. Id. at P13.

Accordingly, it found that the barrel and screw devices did not "impose their shape" on an object under production, as the plastic pellets produced by the company took their shape not from the barrels themselves but from the dies at the end of each barrel.

It held that although the barrel and screw devices provided the pressure that moved the molten plastic material to and through the dies, they were themselves not dies. Id.

In A. Schulman, the Supreme Court focused on whether the barrel and screw devices participated in imposing a shape to the ultimate product, and found that they did not.