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The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's final judgment in an action alleging that an IRS test for determining certain liabilities was facially unconstitutional. The court held that Freedom Path did not have standing to bring this facial challenge and therefore the court dismissed the action based on lack of jurisdiction. In this case, plaintiff's claimed chilled speech injury was not fairly traceable to the text of Revenue Ruling 2004-6. View "Freedom Path, Inc. v. IRS" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the administrative hearing commission finding Myron Green Corporation liable for sales tax on food sold to employees of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the bank’s on-site cafeteria, holding that the cafeteria regularly served food to the public within the context of Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.020.1(6) and that the bank’s sales tax exemption did not extend to its individual employees. The primary issue on appeal was whether a third-party operator of a company cafeteria is liable for sales tax on food purchased by employees of a tax-exempt organization in that cafeteria when the organization sets the cafeteria’s hours, influences pricing, and subsidizes the cost of food in the cafeteria. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment below, holding that there was substantial and competent evidence supporting the commission’s finding that (1) Myron Green’s sales in the bank’s cafeteria were taxable because the cafeteria regularly served meals and drinks to the public, and (2) Myron Green sold food to individual customers instead of to the bank. View "Myron Green Corp. v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision Board of Equalization (Board) reversing the determination of the Department of Revenue (Department) that use of camp spots at the Johnson County Fairgrounds for use during the annual Johnson County Fair and Rodeo was subject to sales and lodging taxation, holding that the Board correctly determined that the campsites and rent received therefrom were not subject to taxation because the Johnson County Fair Board (Fair Board) was not a “vendor” as defined by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-101(a)(xv). For each of the campsites at issue, the County charged $25 per week and did not collect sales or lodging taxes. The Department concluded that the Fair Board was a non-exempt lodging vendor statutorily obligated to collect sales and lodging taxes for the campsite rentals. The Board reversed, concluding that the Fair Board was not a vendor and therefore not obligated to impose a tax on the fees charges for the use of the campsites. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination that the Fair Board was not a vendor and was therefore not required to impose an excise tax was supported by the record. View "State, Department of Revenue v. Board of County Commissioners of Johnson County" on Justia Law

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Whites Corporation donated a conservation easement (CE), and transferred a portion of the resulting CE tax credit to John and Debra Medved. In 2006, the Medveds filed a return claiming the credit. In 2007, Whites Corporation claimed the credit. In 2011, the Colorado Department of Revenue (the Department) disallowed the credit in its entirety. The Medveds claimed the Department acted too late because their 2006 filing triggered the four-year limitations period within which the Department could invalidate a CE tax credit. The Department disagreed, claiming that Whites Corporation’s 2007 filing triggered the limitations period, and therefore the disallowance stood. The Colorado Supreme Court determined that the plain language of the applicable regulation meant the statute of limitations period began when the CE donor claimed the CE tax credit. This accrual applied to and bound any transferees of the credit. So, the limitations period here began when Whites Corporation filed its tax return in 2007, and the Department’s disallowance occurred before the period expired. The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded for further proceedings. View "Colorado v. Medved" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court affirming in part and reversing in part the decision of the South Dakota Department of Revenue issuing Carsforsale.com a certificate of assessment for alleged use tax violations, holding that Carsforsale was not entitled to an advertising exemption or a sale-for-resale exemption. Carsforsale was a web-based business that offered dealers and individuals an online forum to advertise their vehicle for sale and also provided website hosting, social media integration, and other services. The Department found that Carsforsale was not entitled to an advertising exemption on disputed services and dismissed Carsforsale’s argument that the purchases of domain names were exempt under the sale-for-resale exemption. The Supreme Court held (1) Carsforsale was not entitled to the advertising exemption; and (2) Carsforsale was not entitled to the sale-for-resale exemption. View "Carsforsale.com v. South Dakota Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) affirming the decision of the tax commissioner concluding that Appellant’s purchase of an aircraft and then leasing it to its sole corporate member was taxable, holding that Appellant failed to carry its burden to show that it met the requirements of the sale-for-resale exception. See Ohio Rev. Code 5739.01(E) and 5741.02(C)(2). Appellant purchased the aircraft without paying sales or use tax on it and then leased it to its sole corporate member. The tax commissioner assessed used tax against Appellant for this purchase, thus rejecting Appellant’s argument that the purchase was nontaxable under the definition of “retail sale,” commonly known as the sale-for-resale exception. Specifically, the tax commissioner found that Appellant was not “engaging in business” within the meaning of the exception. The BTA affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA (1) did not misapply the sale-for-resale exception; (2) did not run afoul of due process in disregarding certain portions of Appellant’s brief; and (3) did not err in making certain discovery rulings. View "Pi In The Sky, LLC v. Testa" on Justia Law

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This case was brought by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association, Termac Construction, Inc., and other class members (collectively, “NIBCA”), to declare a sewer connection/capitalization fee the City of Hayden enacted in 2007 to be an impermissible tax. The action was originally dismissed on the City’s motion for summary judgment; but, on appeal the Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings because the record did not contain sufficient evidence to establish that the 2007 Cap Fee complied with controlling Idaho statutes and case law. On remand, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment and the district court found that the 2007 Cap Fee was an impermissible tax and taking of property without just compensation in violation of federal takings law. In doing so, the district court refused to consider expert evidence propounded by the City which opined that the 2007 Cap Fee complied with the applicable Idaho legal standards and was reasonable. The district court subsequently ruled on stipulated facts that NIBCA was entitled to damages in the amount paid above $774 per connection, together with interest, costs, and attorney fees. The City appealed the district court’s refusal to consider its evidence and NIBCA cross-appealed the award of damages. The Idaho Supreme Court again vacated the judgment because the district court improperly refused to consider the City’s evidence on remand. View "No ID Bldg Cont Assoc v. City of Hayden" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) concluding that because Great Lakes Bar Control’s service of cleaning beer-tap lines was primarily a maintenance service, any cleaning was merely incidental to that maintenance and was therefore not subject to sales tax as a “building maintenance and janitorial service” under Ohio Rev. Code 5739.01(B)(3)(j), holding that the beer-line service did not fit the plain meaning of “cleaning” in the context of providing a “janitorial service.” Great Lakes provided services related to selling, installing, and servicing beer-dispensing systems and provided a beer-line maintenance service to remove buildup of sediment and prevent lines from becoming blocked. The Ohio Department of Taxation determined that the beer-line service involved cleaning of tangible personal property under section 5730.01(II) and was subject to the sales tax. The BTA reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the beer-line service did not fit the plain meaning of “cleaning” in the context of providing a “janitorial service.” View "Great Lakes Bar Control, Inc. v. Testa" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff H. Brooke Paige, a taxpayer and resident of Washington, Vermont, appealed the civil division’s dismissal of his complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the State of Vermont and the Washington Town School Board. In his complaint, he asserted that Act 46, a 2015 state law related to education funding, spending, and governance, impermissibly coerced town residents into voting to merge school districts. He further alleged that Act 46 deprived town residents of local control of education and would result in unequal educational opportunities in violation of the Education and Common Benefits Clauses of the Vermont Constitution. The Vermont Supreme Court concluded plaintiff lacked standing to bring this action and therefore affirmed the trial court judgment dismissing this case. View "Paige v. Vermont" on Justia Law

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Rogers is a tax lawyer. The Seventh Circuit previously characterized as an “abusive scam” a scheme Rogers implemented for the 2003 tax year. He implemented a similar scheme for later tax years: Rogers forms a partnership (Sugarloaf) that he uses to acquire severely-distressed accounts receivables from Brazilian retailers. For tax purposes, the partnership carries the receivables at their face amount, not at fair value. The partnership then conveys the receivables to U.S. taxpayers, who deem them uncollectible and deduct from their income the associated “loss.” A 2004 Tax Code amendment prohibits such partnerships from transferring built-in-losses on uncollectible receivables to U.S. taxpayers in this manner, 118 Stat.1589. Rogers modified his scheme to involve a trust in which Sugarloaf was both the grantor and beneficiary and additional maneuvering. Under the IRS’s sham determination, the Brazilian retailers’ purported contribution of receivables to Sugarloaf was recharacterized as a sale of assets; Sugarloaf’s original basis in the receivables was reduced to fair value—nearly nothing. The Tax Court and Seventh Circuit affirmed that Sugarloaf was a sham partnership; even if Sugarloaf were a legitimate partnership, the Brazilian retailers’ redemptions of their interest in the partnership was, in substance, a sale of receivables. A 40% penalty applied (26 U.S.C. 6662(h)(1); (2)(A)(1)) to Sugarloaf’s tax underpayment resulting from its gross misstatement of the 2004 cost-of-goods-sold expense, and a 20% penalty applied (section 6662(a), (b)(1) & (2)) to underpayments attributable to its negligence when failing to include certain income and taking disallowed business expense deductions. View "Sugarloaf Fund, LLC v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law