Justia Tax Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiff did not qualify for an extended redemption period under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-1827 and that the tax certificate sale process at issue in this case did not violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights, holding that there was no error.Because Plaintiff did not pay her 2013 property taxes the Lancaster County treasurer to a private party. Three years later, the tax certificate holder applied for and obtained a tax deed to the property. Plaintiff subsequently brought this action seeking to quiet title to the property in her name, arguing that the issuance of the tax deed had violated her rights under the state and federal constitutions and that she had a statutory right to a five-year redemption period under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-1827. The district court dismissed all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it determined that Plaintiff was not entitled to the statutory extended redemption period or when it dismissed her constitutional claims. View "Nieveen v. TAX 106" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Continental Resources in this quiet title action against Kevin and Terry Fair, holding that the district court did not err in granting Continental's summary judgment motion to quiet title.At issue on appeal was the constitutionality of the statute that authorize the process allowing the county in which a property is located to sell a tax certificate for the property to a private party if the property owner fails to pay property taxes. If the owner fails to pay the taxes owed after a period of time and the tax certificate purchaser complies with certain requirements, the purchaser can obtain a deed to the property free of encumbrances. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Nebraska's tax certificate sale statutes are not unconstitutional in the manner assigned by Fair. View "Continental Resources v. Fair" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Tax Commission affirming the deficiency assessment imposed by the Nebraska Department of Revenue upon a Nebraska corporation, which purchased an interest in an airplane from a Kansas seller without paying Nebraska sales or use taxes, holding that there was no error.The Department issued a notice of deficiency determination to the corporation in the total amount of $161,373. The corporation appealed, claiming that no taxes were owed because the airplane purchase was a "sale for resale." The Tax Commission found that the purchase was not a sale for resale and affirmed the Department's deficiency assessment. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court's finding that the corporation's airplane purchase did not qualify as a nontaxable sale for resale was supported by sufficient competent evidence and was not contrary to law. View "Big Blue Express v. Nebraska Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that income taxpayers did not meet their burden of proof that they abandoned their domicile in Nebraska and acquired a domicile in the United Kingdom (U.K.), holding that competent evidence supported the district court's factual findings.The Department of Revenue issued to Appellants a notice of proposed deficiency determination for individual income tax for tax years 2012 to 2014. Appellants requested a redetermination that no money was due, claiming that the U.K. was their domicile. The Tax Commissioner determined that Appellants failed to sustain their burden of proof. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court's ultimate decision to affirm the Tax Commissioner's order was not in error. View "Houghton v. Nebraska Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court finding that the production of aggregate by Ash Grove Cement Company qualified as "processing" under the Nebraska Advantage Act (NAA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-5701 to 77-5735, and finding that Ash Grove's aggregate production did not qualify as "manufacturing" under the NAA, holding that the appeals in this case were without merit.Because Lyman-Richey, which sold aggregate products used for things like manufacturing concrete, was wholly owned by Ash Grove, Ash Grove was eligible to include Lyman-Richey in its application for NAA tax incentives. At issue in this case was whether the district court erred in (1) finding that aggregate production locations were not engaged in "manufacturing" under the NAA; (2) denying Lyman-Richey's claims for overpayment of sales and use tax based on the manufacturing machinery or equipment exemption; and (3) finding the aggregate production locations were engaged in "processing" under the NAA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) although Ash Grove did not engage in "manufacturing" when it produced aggregate without crushing, it did engage in the qualified business of "processing" under the NAA; and (2) Lyman-Richey failed to prove entitlement to overpayment of sales and use tax based on the manufacturing machinery and equipment exemption. View "Ash Grove Cement Co. v. Nebraska Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming the decision of the Tax Commissioner denying Plaintiff's petition for redetermination of a sales tax deficiency assessment issued to Plaintiff by the Nebraska Department of Revenue, holding that there was no merit to Plaintiff's assignments of error.At issue on appeal was whether the district court erred in upholding the Department's determination that Plaintiff must pay sales or use tax on building materials it purchased and also must remit sales tax when it bills its customers for the same building materials once those materials are annexed to real property in the course of Plaintiff's "furnishing, installing, or connecting" of mobile telecommunications services under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2701.16(2)(e), even though Plaintiff used the previously taxed building materials to perform work for its customers. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there is no conflict between section 77-2701.16(2), which allowed Plaintiff to pay sales tax as a consumer, and section 77-2701.16(w)(e), which required Plaintiff to pay tax on the gross receipts it earned in the furnishing, installing, or connecting of mobile telecommunications services using those previously taxed goods. View "Diversified Telecom Services v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) in this action in which Plaintiff argued that TERC failed to adhere to the Supreme Court's mandate in a prior appeal and that, as a result, the Custer County assessor recorded the taxable value of his property incorrectly, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing the declaratory judgment action.Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the assessor and the TERC seeking an order declaring the meaning of the Supreme Court's prior opinion and directing the assessor to record the taxable value Plaintiff understood the prior opinion to require. The district court dismissed the TERC as a party and concluded that it did not have authority to enter a declaratory judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly declined to enter a declaratory judgment because mandamus was a superior remedy to declaratory judgment in this situation. View "Cain v. Lymber" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC), which reduced the county's $16.3 million valuation of commercial real estate used as an ethanol plant to $7.3 million based upon the taxpayer's appraisal, holding that there was no error appearing on the record.The original $16.3 million valuation in this case was based upon mass appraisal techniques. TERC reduced the value based upon the appraisal of the taxpayer, finding that because the appraiser performed the appraisal according to professional approved standards his appraisal report was competent evidence sufficient to rebut the presumption in favor of the Board of Equalization's determination affirming the county assessor's valuation of the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that TERC's determination that the Board's valuation was unreasonable and arbitrary was supported by competent evidence and was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. View "Wheatland Industries v. Perkins County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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At issue was the tax exempt status of land purchased by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (NRD) as part of a ground water integrated management plan.The NRD retired irrigated acres and converted them to grassland to achieve soil conservation and range management objectives and then leased much of the grassland for grazing. The parties here disputed, among other things, the extent to which the lease was at fair market value for a public purpose under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-202(1)(a) and the scope of the questions properly before the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC).The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of TERC that certain unimproved parcels of property, portions of two improved parcels, and contiguous parcels were used for a public purpose and therefore exempt and vacated those parts of the TERC’s opinion addressing issues other than whether the property was used for a public purpose. View "Upper Republican Natural Resources District v. Dundy County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the valuations of certain grassland properties owned by the Betty L. Green Living Trust and the Richard R. Green Living Trust (the Trusts) that had been established by the county assessor and approved by the county board of equalization (the Board).In its decision, TERC concluded that the Trusts did not present competent evidence to rebut the presumption that the Board faithfully performed its duties and had sufficient competent evidence to make its determinations. The Supreme Court affirmed TERC’s order, holding that TERC’s decision conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable. View "Betty L. Green Living Trust v. Morrill County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law