Halpern, Botter and Kolovsky. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kolovsky, J.A.D., Retired and Temporarily Assigned on Recall.
Allied Textile Printers Corp. (Allied) appealed to the Division of Tax Appeals from assessments for sales taxes and business personal property taxes made by the Director of the Division of Taxation (Director). After a hearing, the Division of Tax Appeals adjudged that:
1. The engraving process performed upon [Allied's] copper rollers constitutes an "imprinting" service properly taxable under N.J.S.A. 54:32B-3(b)(1) of the New Jersey Sales and Use Tax Act and that the Director's assessment of sales taxes, penalties and interest in the amount of $44,821.79 is proper and affirmed.
2. [Allied's] copper rollers utilized in the printing of textiles do not constitute personal property used in business within the meaning of the New Jersey Business Personal Property Tax Act, N.J.S.A. 54:11A-1 et seq. , and, therefore, the assessment by the Director of the Division of Taxation of business personal property taxes, penalties and interest in the amount of $23,622.82 is reversed.
In the above two appeals, consolidated for argument, the Director challenges the vacation of the business personal property tax assessment and Allied challenges the affirmance of the assessment for sales taxes.
The proofs adduced before the Division of Tax Appeals consisted only of the testimony of Allied's treasurer and three exhibits offered into evidence by the Director.
The proofs showed that Allied is in the business of printing and dyeing textiles for customers. The printing is accomplished by inserting unprinted fabric into a printing machine between the blade constituting the central cylinder
of the machine and a copper roller, theretofore engraved with a pattern or design, to which ink, a colored dye, has been applied by a furnishing roller. The pressure between the two rollers causes the ink to be transferred from the engraved surface of the copper roller onto the fabric in the patterned design.
The copper rollers are large cylindrical pieces of solid copper, weighing approximately 150 pounds, varying in length from 4 feet to 5 feet and in circumference from 14 1/2 to 20 inches, with "a large cylindrical hole down the center."
Before being used in the printing operation, the surface of the roller is engraved with the design or pattern desired by Allied's customer. The engraving operation, performed by an engraver engaged by Allied, is a complicated procedure that results in the engraving on the copper roller of the desired design, with the surface of the roller being chromeplated and polished to produce a smooth, mirror-like surface.
The copper roller is then "pressed with hydraulic equipment * * * under many tons of pressure" onto a steel mandrel and inserted, with the supporting mandrel, into a printing machine, "a complex piece of equipment that is permanently in place * * * and is composed of iron and steel." However, the machine can be used for printing only after the engraved copper roller has been inserted therein.
Once the desired quantity of fabric has been printed, the copper roller and mandrel are removed from the printing machine, the mandrel is removed from the roller by means of a hydraulic press and the roller is stored for later use either for imprinting the same design, if ...