Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Tax Law
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Hudye Group LP (“Hudye”) appealed a district court judgment affirming the Ward County Board of Commissioners’ decision to deny Hudye’s applications for abatement or refund of taxes as untimely. Hudye filed applications for abatement or refund of taxes relating to 85 acres of property that had been divided into 92 parcels which were located in Ward County, North Dakota. Hudye argued the failure to consider abatement requests received by the City Assessor’s Office on the first business day following the November first deadline resulted in an unjust outcome. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Hudye Group v. Ward Cty. Bd. of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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In 2016, nearly 80% of Illinois voters voted to amend the Illinois Constitution; section 11, titled “Transportation funds,” was added to the state revenue article and provides that money generated from taxes, fees, excises, and license taxes on transportation infrastructure or operations shall only be spent on transportation purposes. Plaintiffs, contracting firms in the public transportation construction and design industry, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that Cook County, a home-rule unit, was violating the Amendment by diverting “revenue from transportation-related taxes and fees to the County’s Public Safety Fund” and impermissibly spending the revenue on non-transportation related purposes.The circuit court dismissed the complaint, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that the complaint failed to state a violation of the Amendment. The appellate court reversed on the issue of standing but affirmed that no violation of the Amendment had been stated. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the dismissal. The plaintiffs have associational standing and the money derived from the Cook County Transportation Taxes is subject to the Amendment. The Amendment did not create an exemption for home-rule units, home-rule taxes, or home-rule expenditures. The court found no issue with the manner in which home-rule units have had their power limited in the transportation context. View "Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association v. County of Cook" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) upholding the decision of the tax commissioner denying Colonial, Inc.'s application for a tax refund, holding that there was no error.In its application, Colonial argued that it was entitled to a refund of $269,432 in resort-area taxes that it paid from 2011 through 2016. Specifically, Colonial sought to recover a locally-imposed resort-area gross receipts excise tax that the village of Put-in-Bay originally enacted in 1995, arguing that, under Ohio Rev. Code 5739.101, the village must react the resort-area tax after each decennial census. The tax commissioner denied the refund claim, and the BTA affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA correctly affirmed the tax commissioner's denial of Colonial's application for a refund. View "Colonial, Inc. v. McClain" on Justia Law

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Corporate taxpayer Raytheon Company's 2012 income tax return was due on March 15, 2013. Raytheon filed its return on September 27, 2013, after securing an authorized extension of the deadline. Raytheon later discovered that the return overstated the company's annual income based upon the inadvertent inclusion of Arizona property sales. The company filed an amended 2012 return on September 27, 2016, claiming a refund of $321,444.00. The Oklahoma Tax Commission denied the refund claim, reasoning taxpayer submitted its demand more than three years after paying the taxes. An administrative law judge found the claimed refund was time barred under 68 O.S.2011, section 2373, and the Commissioners affirmed this finding. The company appealed, and after review the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed, finding the taxpayer timely brought the claim for refund, having paid taxes to the Oklahoma Tax Commission upon filing its amended original return with a proper extension. View "In the matter of the Income Tax Protest of Raytheon Company" on Justia Law

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In Case No. S21A0899, Lynnette Riley, the former State Revenue Commissioner, appealed the partial grant of summary judgment in favor of petitioner Georgia Association of Club Executives (“GACE”), contending that the trial court erred by permanently enjoining the enforcement of OCGA 15-21-201(1)(B) – one of the definitions of “adult entertainment establishment” – based on the court’s ruling that the provision was unconstitutionally vague. In Case No. S21X0900, GACE cross-appealed, contending the trial court erred in granting partial summary judgment in Riley’s favor on the remaining claims of GACE’s petition, arguing that OCGA 15-21-209, by imposing an annual assessment on adult entertainment establishments, violated constitutional due process and free speech protections. Although these appeals presented challenges to the constitutionality of state statutes, the Georgia Supreme Court did not address the merits of the appellant’s or the cross-appellant’s claims of error. Instead, the Court vacated the trial court’s summary judgment order and subsequent final judgment because the Court determined GACE’s action against Riley was moot when the trial court ruled. "Because Riley was no longer Revenue Commissioner at the time the trial court entered its summary judgment order and subsequent final judgment, an injunction against her in her individual capacity could not give GACE the relief it seeks. ... A court may not address the constitutionality of the tax at issue absent the presence of a proper defendant in the action." View "Riley v. Georgia Assn. of Club Executives., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Town of Sheldon appealed a hearing officer’s valuation of the subject property, a hydroelectric generating facility, as of April 1, 2019. It challenged the hearing officer’s application of the Income Approach to determine the property’s fair market value and his rejection of the Town’s Direct Sale Comparison approach. The Town essentially argued that the hearing officer’s findings were insufficient to support his conclusions. Finding no reversible error, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the valuation. View "Missisquoi Assoc. Hydro c/o Enel Green Power v. Town of Sheldon" on Justia Law

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IRS Notice 2007-83, entitled “Abusive Trust Arrangements Utilizing Cash Value Life Insurance Policies Purportedly to Provide Welfare Benefits” designates certain employee-benefit plans featuring cash-value life insurance policies as listed “tax avoidance" transactions. A cash-value life insurance policy combines life insurance coverage with a cash-value investment account. The IRS believes these transactions run the risk of allowing small business owners to receive cash and other property from the business “on a tax-favored basis.” The regulation requires reporting of transactions involving cash-value life insurance policies connected to employee-benefit plans.Taxpayers claimed that the IRS skipped the notice-and-comment process before promulgating this legislative rule as required by the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551, 553–59, 701–06. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court and found the regulation invalid. The Notice was a “legislative rule,” with the “force and effect of law,” not a policy statement or interpretation. Congress did not expressly exempt the IRS from the APA’s requirements. View "Mann Construction, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Christopher and Debra James appealed a district court order granting summary judgment in favor of the Idaho State Tax Commission (“Tax Commission”), reversing the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (“BTA”). The district court affirmed the Tax Commission’s notice of deficiency decision, which disallowed a net operating loss carryback because the Jameses missed the deadline to claim the loss. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision: Idaho Code sections 63-3072(e) and 63-3022(c)(2) required the Jameses to file their amended 2012 Idaho tax return by December 31, 2015, to carryback their 2014 NOL to the 2012 tax year. The Jameses failed to do so. View "Idaho State Tax Commission v. James" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) abating a tax penalty imposed against Appellee by the Tax Commissioner of Ohio, holding that the BTA's abatement of the penalty was clearly erroneous.The tax commissioner assessed unpaid tax in the amount of $4,821 as against Appellee and exercised his statutory discretion to impose a fifteen percent penalty amounting to $723. The BTA upheld the tax assessment against Appellee but found that the tax commissioner had abused his discretion in assessing a penalty. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the BTA's holding that the tax commissioner abused his discretion and that the BTA's order abating the penalty were clearly erroneous. View "Karr v. McClain" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court holding that the Virginia Department of Taxation's corporation income tax assessments for the years in issue were erroneous and ordering the Department to refund Lorillard Tobacco Company the amount of its overpayments on the assessments for the years in issue, holding that there was no error.Lorillard filed an application for correction of erroneous assessment of corporation income taxes challenging the denial of its refund claims for certain assessments. The circuit court held that the Department's assessments were erroneous and ordered the Department to correct the assessments by refunding Lorillard the amount of its overpayments. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err. View "Virginia Department of Taxation v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco" on Justia Law