Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1955 No. 54 - Apr 6 1955
Attorney General Don Eastvold


Grain product known as "mill-feed" not exempt from personal property taxation, although shipped out of state before April 30th following assessment date.

                                                              - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                    April 6, 1955

Honorable Hugh H. Evans
Prosecuting Attorney
Spokane County Court House
Spokane, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 54

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested an opinion of this office upon a question which may be stated as follows:

            Is a grain product, known as "mill-feed" exempt from personal property taxation if it is shipped out of the state on or before April 30th following the assessment date.

            It is our opinion that such property is not exempt from taxation.


            You state in your letter that mill-feed is that portion of grain remaining after the flour qualities have been removed and that it is definitely distinguishable from flour itself.  RCW 84.36.140 provides:

            "All grains and flour, * * * while being transported to or held in storage in a public or private warehouse shall be exempt from taxation if actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of the first year for which they would otherwise be taxable:  Provided, That proof of shipment is furnished as required by RCW 84.36.150."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            RCW 84.36.150 states that the assessor shall list and assess all such grains and flour as of the assessment date, which is January 1st of each year, and further provides that such assessment shall be cancelled in whole or in proportionate part upon receipt of sufficient documentary proof that the property so assessed was actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of such year, provided proof is furnished to the assessor before June 1st of that year.

            The section further provides:

            "* * * Any such assessment of grain shall also be subject to cancellation if sufficient documentary proof is furnished that the grain so assessed was milled into flour and such flour was actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of such year."

            RCW 84.36.160 reads in part, as follows:

            "For the purposes of [the two preceding sections]:  'Grains and Flour' means all raw whole grains in their usual marketable state; and grain flour in the hands of the first processor; but not any other grain product;" (Emphasis supplied)

            It thus, appears to be clear that only "grain flour" and "raw whole grain" are subject to the exemption provided for by the above statutes.  Mill-feed is not flour and is not raw whole grain.  The definition specifically excludes grain products other than grain flour.

            It is true that section 6 of chapter 67, Laws of 1939 provides:

            "The purpose of this act is to encourage the storage of the commodities herein defined in the State of Washington and this act shall be liberally construed"

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]   This section (which is not codified) refers to those parts of chapter 84.36 RCW, above cited.  However, as stated, the definitions are not broad enough to include mill-feed, it being neither whole grain nor flour.  The fact that a statute must be liberally construed does not authorize the courts to give its wording a forced construction.  50 Am. Jur. Statutes, sec. 387.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General