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Defendant Kathleen Stegman was convicted by a jury of two counts of evading her personal taxes for the tax years 2007 and 2008. Stegman was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 51 months, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. The district court also ordered Stegman to pay a $100,000 fine, plus restitution in the amount of $68,733. Stegman established several limited liability corporations pertaining to a “medical aesthetics” business she owned, using these corporations to effectively launder client payments. As part of this process, Stegman would use the corporations to purchase money orders, typically in denominations of $500 or less, that she in turn used to purchase items for personal use. In 2007, Stegman purchased 162 money orders totaling $77,181.92. In 2008, she purchased 252 money orders totaling $121,869.99. And in 2009, she purchased 157 money orders totaling $73,697.31. Notably, Stegman reported zero cash income on her federal income tax returns during each of these years. At the conclusion of the evidence, the jury convicted Stegman of evading her personal taxes for the tax years 2007 and 2008 (Counts 4 and 5), as well as evading corporate taxes for the tax years 2008 and 2009 (Counts 1 and 2). The jury acquitted Stegman of evading corporate taxes for the tax year 2010 (Count 3). The jury also acquitted Stegman and Smith of the conspiracy charge (Count 6). Stegman moved for judgment of acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial. The district court granted the motion as to the two counts that related to the evasion of corporate taxes (Counts 1 and 2), but denied the remainder of the motion. In doing so, the district court chose to acquit Stegman of the corporate tax evasion counts not due to a lack of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this corporation evaded taxes,” but rather because “the indictment itself was flawed in attributing the loss as due and owing by Ms. Stegman, when actually it was due and owing by the corporation.” Stegman raised five issues on appeal, four of which pertain to her convictions and one of which pertained to her sentence. Although several of these issues require extensive discussion due to their fact-intensive nature, the Tenth Circuit concluded that all of these issues lacked merit. View "United States v. Stegman" on Justia Law

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In this direct appeal, the issue presented for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was whether the “net loss carryover” provision of the Pennsylvania Revenue Code for tax year 2007 (“NLC”), which restricted the amount of loss a corporation could carry over from prior years as a deduction against its 2007 taxable income to whichever is greater, 12.5% of the corporation’s 2007 taxable income or $3 million, violated Article 8, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (“the Uniformity Clause”). Nextel Communications, incorporated in Delaware, earned $45,053,282 in taxable income on its business activities in the Commonwealth. Under the NLC, Nextel was entitled to deduct from its 2007 taxable income the net losses it sustained in prior tax years in the amount of $3 million or 12.5% of its 2007 taxable income, whichever total was greater. In 2007, Nextel had a cumulative net loss dating from the tax year 1997 of $150,636,792. Because 12.5% of Nextel’s 2007 taxable income amounted to $5,631,660, and, hence, was greater than $3 million, Nextel claimed the 12.5% amount as a net loss deduction, thereby reducing its taxable income for 2007 to $39,421,622. Under the corporate net income tax rate of 9.9%, Nextel’s total tax liability to the Commonwealth on this adjusted income was $3,938,220, which Nextel paid to the Department. The Supreme Court affirmed the Commonwealth Court’s holding that the NLC, as applied to Nextel violated the Uniformity Clause. However, the Court also found that the portion of the NLC which created the violation, the $3 million flat deduction, could be severed from the remainder of the statute, while still enabling the statute to operate as the legislature intended. View "Nextel Communications v. Pennsylvania" on Justia Law

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Defendant Darren Rose, a member of the Alturas Indian Rancheria, ran two smoke shops located in Indian country but far from any lands governed by the Alturas Indian Rancheria. In those smoke shops, Rose sold illegal cigarettes and failed to collect state taxes. California brought an enforcement action to stop illegal sales and collect civil penalties. Rose appealed, arguing: (1) California and its courts did not have jurisdiction to enforce California’s civil/regulatory laws for his actions in Indian country; and (2) the amount of civil penalties imposed was inequitable and erroneous. The Court of Appeal concluded: (1) federal law and tribal sovereignty did not preempt California’s regulation and enforcement of its laws concerning sales of cigarettes; and (2) the superior court’s imposition of civil penalties was proper. View "California v. Rose" on Justia Law

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In May 2007, the Medical Center Hospital Authority (“Hospital Authority”) filed an action against the Columbus Board of Tax Assessors and related parties (together, “the Tax Board”) in which it sought a declaration that its leasehold interest in a building located on real property owned by a private entity constituted public property exempt from ad valorem taxation under OCGA 48-5-41 (a) (1). The superior court granted summary judgment to the Hospital Authority, finding that the Hospital Authority’s leasehold interest qualified as “public property,” and was thus exempt from ad valorem property taxation. The Tax Board appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether the Court of Appeals erred in determining that two prior bond validation orders conclusively determined, for purposes of OCGA 48-5-41 (a) (1) (A), that the property at issue was “public property” exempt from ad valorem taxation. The Court held that these orders did not conclusively establish that the Hospital Authority’s leasehold interest was “public property” exempt from ad valorem taxes and therefore reversed the Court of Appeals and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Columbus Board of Tax Assessors v. Medical Center Hospital Authority" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the final order of the circuit court granting summary judgment to the sheriff and treasurer of Barbour County and the assessor of Barbour County (collectively, Respondents) and finding that Petitioners were liable for payment of certain property taxes for the years 2011 and 2012. Petitioners had purchased a tax lien on certain mineral interests from the Deputy Commission of Delinquent and Nonentered Lands of Barbour County on September 19, 2011 and secured a deed to the property on January 23, 2012. On appeal, Petitioners argued that they were not liable for the 2011 and 2012 property taxes because they were not owners in possession of the property during those years. Respondents argued that Petitioners were liable for the taxes at issue because their deed specified that they acquired title in 2004. The Supreme Court held that because W. Va. Code 11A-3-62 relates the tax lien purchaser’s title back to the year of the assessment for the property taxes that became delinquent, the circuit court did not err in determining that Petitioners were liable for the 2011 and 2012 property taxes. View "Ancient Energy, Ltd. v. Ferguson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered in the Business and Consumer Docket awarding the State and ConnectME Authority $406,852 in unpaid fees pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 35-A, 9216, plus interests and costs. On appeal, all parties argued that the lower court erred by concluding that the section 9216 assessment was a valid business excise tax. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the Legislature properly characterized the section 9216 assessment as a fee and not a tax; and (2) while the lower court erred by concluding that the assessment was a valid business excise tax, the error was harmless. View "State v. Biddeford Internet Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the decisions of the tax court upholding the Commissioner's transferee liability assessment against petitioners. Terry and Sandra Shockley sold their company, SCC, and reported their gains from this sale on timely federal income tax returns for calendar year 2001. The Commissioner assessed additional tax liabilities against SCC and thus asserted transferee liability under I.R.C. 6901 against each of eight of the largest selling shareholders of SCC. The court held that the tax court appropriately used substance over form and its related judicial doctrines to determine the true nature of the transaction at issue. The court agreed with the Commissioner, the tax court, and the Seventh Circuit that substance-over-form analysis was appropriate in context of the Wisconsin Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Under the circumstances, the Commissioner was permitted to assess transferee liability for unpaid taxes against petitioners by applying the procedural device supplied by I.R.C. 6901. View "Shockley v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a complaint brought by the Town of Pine Bluffs alleging that Laramie County illegally taxed a day care center that the Town owned and operated. The Town sought an injunction under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-13-109(c)(i), alleging that the property was used for a governmental purpose and was therefore exempt under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-11-105(a)(v). The district court granted the County’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the Town should have exhausted administrative remedies before resorting to an injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 39-13-109(c)(i) did not provide the Town a remedy for an error in assessing the day care center and that it needed to resort to the administrative process instead. View "Town of Pine Bluffs v. Eisele" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Ann Hardegger filed a complaint in the district court seeking contribution from respondents Daniel and Cheryl Clark, for their proportionate share of a payment she made to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) in full satisfaction of the parties’ joint and several tax liabilities. In October 2010, the Clarks filed a joint voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and gave notice to their creditors, including the Hardeggers. The Hardeggers did not file a proof of claim in the bankruptcy proceeding, and the bankruptcy court granted the Clarks a discharge. In Hardegger’s case, the district court found the Clarks responsible for one-half of the IRS indebtedness and entered summary judgment in Hardegger’s favor. A division of the court of appeals reversed, however, concluding that Hardegger’s contribution claim constituted a pre-petition debt that had been discharged in the Clarks’ bankruptcy case. Applying the “conduct test,” under which a claim arises for bankruptcy purposes at the time the debtor committed the conduct on which the claim is based, the Colorado Supreme Court concluded that Hardegger’s claim for contribution arose when the parties’ jointly owned company incurred federal tax withholding liability between 2007 and 2009, rendering Hardegger and Clark potentially responsible for that debt. Because this conduct occurred before the Clarks filed their bankruptcy petition in 2010, Hardegger’s claim constituted a pre-petition debt that was subject to discharge. View "Hardegger v. Clark" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs and appellants Luz Solar Partners Ltd., III; Luz Solar Partners Ltd., IV; Luz Solar Partners Ltd., V; Luz Solar Partners Ltd., VI; Luz Solar Partners Ltd., VII; Luz Solar Partners Ltd., VIII and Harper Lake Company VIII; and Luz Solar Partners Ltd., IX and HLC IX (collectively “Luz Partners”) challenged the assessment of real property improved with solar energy generating systems (SEGS units) for tax years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. They contended that defendants-respondents San Bernardino County (County) and the Assessment Appeals Board of San Bernardino County (Appeals Board) erroneously relied on the State of California Board of Equalization’s (Board) incorrect interpretation of the applicable statutes governing the method of assessing the value of the property. Finding that the Board correctly interpreted the applicable law in setting forth the method of assessing the value of the solar properties, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Luz Solar Partners Ltd. v. San Bernardino County" on Justia Law