The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Pottawattamie manufacturer in a dispute over property taxes. Griffin Pipe Products Company makes iron pipe at its foundry in Council Bluffs and owners were surprised when they received their county property tax bill and found it had gone up considerably.

A review found the assessor had concluded a cupola, vertical furnace and smokestack in the company’s manufacturing building were taxable property. All three structures are used in the process of making the pipe — so the company appealed — saying the structures qualified for a tax exemption for manufacturing equipment.

The district court refused a motion from the company for a summary judgment throwing out the taxes, saying there is a question of whether or not the three fixtures are taxable property. The Iowa Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling, saying the sole question is whether the three items are manufacturing equipment.

The High Court says the legislature gave the law a broad interpretation of manufacturing equipment to include fixtures on a building that are used in the manufacturing process. It sent the case back to district court for a summary judgment in favor of Griffin Pipe.

See the entire ruling here: Griffin Pipe PDF