Justia Tax Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court
In re Tax Appeal of Fleet Nat’l Bank
This was an administrative appeal by the Shawnee County Board of County Commissioners from a decision by the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) setting aside tax assessments the County claimed on three executive-style business aircraft for tax years 2000-2002. The dispute arose after the County had agreed in earlier proceedings that the aircraft were not subject to taxation and BOTA ordered them exempted. A few years later, the County attempted to reassess the aircraft for back taxes, interest, and penalties. The aircrafts' owners objected and commenced this action to avert the taxation. BOTA and the district court agreed with the owners but with different reasons for their rulings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that claim and issue preclusion barred the County from initiating new taxation efforts for the same tax years after the initial BOTA exemption orders became final. Remanded to BOTA for it to set aside the County's correction orders and assessment notices for the aircraft and tax years at issue.
Barnes v. Board of County Comm’rs
Property owners appealed a special tax assessment the Board of County Commissioners levied against real property for cleanup costs the County claimed it incurred while removing dangerous structures and unsightly conditions on that property. The district court found subject matter jurisdiction lacking and granted the County's summary judgment motion. The court of appeals affirmed. At issue on appeal was whether the property owners' claims could be brought on direct review under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-907(a), which provides injunctive relief against an illegal levy or enforcement of any tax, charge, or assessment. The Supreme Court affirmed and in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the property owners satisfied the jurisdictional burdens under section 60-907(a) on two of its three issues; and (2) because the district court went beyond the jurisdiction question and found for the County on the merits and the court of appeals stopped short of considering the merits of any claims when it found the entire case was jurisdictionally barred, the court of appeals erred in part in its jurisdictional ruling. Remanded to the court of appeals to determine whether the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the remaining claims.
Hockett v. Trees Oil Co.
Pursuant to an oil and gas lease with Appellee Trees Oil Company (Trees), Appellant Arthur Hockett had a 1/8-royalty interest in the production from a Haskell County well that produced natural gas. Trees operated the well, and sold the gas produced to âfirst purchasers.â Before paying Trees for production, the first purchasers deduct taxes and fees imposed by the state. Trees then pays Appellant 1/8 of the net sales proceeds. In 2009, Appellant filed a complaint against Trees, seeking recovery of the amount in tax deducted from the sales proceeds from the first purchasers. Trees moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that it could not be held liable for complying with state law by paying the sales taxes. The district court held that the taxes and fees were to be imposed on all owners in the venture, including royalty owners. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court found that state law does not require royalty owners pay the oil and gas taxes and fees if they do not operate the well. The fees withheld by the first purchaser are an expense attributable to the oil company as the well operator. In computing Appellantâs royalties, Trees was not permitted to deduct the amount of its fees expenses from the gross sale price under contract with the first purchaser. Accordingly, the Court held that the district court erred in ruling in favor of Trees. The Court remanded the remanded the case for further proceedings.