Justia Tax Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the administrative hearing commission (AHC) finding beyond Housing, Inc. and Pagedale Town Center II, LLC (PTC II) qualify for sales and use tax exemptions as charitable organizations pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.030.2(19), holding that the AHC's decision was proper.On appeal, the director of the department of revenue argued, among other things, that the HAC erred in determining that Beyond Housing and PTC II could qualify as a charitable organization because Beyond Housing was previously granted civic exemptions and, the director claimed, the statutory categories of charitable and civic exemptions are mutually exclusive classifications. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the AHC did not err in finding Beyond Housing and PTC II qualified for the charitable exemption; and (2) the AHC’s determination that Beyond Housing and PTC II qualified for sales and use tax exemptions as charities was supported by competent and substantial evidence and comported with the law. View "Beyond Housing, Inc. v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) that the purchases by Carfax, Inc. of certain equipment used to create vehicle history reports (VHRs) were exempt from sales and use taxes under Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.030.2(5) and 144.054.2 because Carfax used such equipment to "manufacture" VHRs, holding that Carfax did not use the equipment in the "manufacturing" of its VHRs.After an audit, the Director of Revenue determined that Carfax did not use the disputed equipment to manufacture VHRs, and therefore, its purchase of that equipment was not exempt from sales and use taxes. On appeal, the AHC found that Carfax's purchases of the equipment were exempt from sales and use taxes under both sections 144.303.2(5) and 144.054(2) because Carfax used that equipment directly in manufacturing VHRs. The Supreme Court vacated the decision below, holding that, for purposes of these statutes, Carfax did not use the disputed equipment to manufacture VHRs. View "Carfax, Inc. v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court that the solar energy system owned by Springfield Solar 1, LLC was tax-exempt as a "solar energy system not held for resale" pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 137.100(10), holding that the statute is unconstitutional because the Missouri Constitution does not grant the legislature the power to exempt solar energy systems not help for resale from taxation.Springfield Solar appealed the Assessor for Greene County's 2017 assessment of its solar energy system (the equipment), arguing that the equipment was tax-exempt under section 137.100(10), which states that solar energy systems not help for resale are exempt from taxation for state, county, and local purposes. The Commission concluded that the equipment was exempt from taxation under section 137.100(10). The Assessor filed a petition for judicial review, arguing that the Commission's decision was unlawful. The circuit court entered judgment in favor of Springfield Solar, finding that the statute was constitutional. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the tax exemption created by section 137.100(10) is unconstitutional. View "Johnson v. Icet" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting judgment on the pleadings in favor of the Affton Fire Protection District, the governor, and the attorney general (collectively, Defendants) in this challenge to Mo. Rev. Stat. 72.418.2 and 321.322.3, holding that the circuit court did not err.The City of Crestwood and two of its resident taxpayers (collectively, Plaintiffs) argued that sections 72.418.2 and 321.322.3, which govern the provision of and payment for fire protection services in certain annexed areas, violate the prohibition against special laws in Mo. Const. art. III, 40 and that section 72.418.2 violates constitutional due process protections and provisions of the Missouri Constitution prohibiting certain taxes and the creation of unfunded mandates. The Supreme Court held (1) a rational basis supported the classification scheme in sections 72.418 and 321.322.3; (2) the fee Crestood pays to the district is not a tax on the resident taxpayers of Crestwood; and (3) section 72.418.2 does not create an unfunded mandate. View "City of Crestwood v. Affton Fire Protection District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the administrative hearing commission (AHC) finding no use tax liability for APLUX LLC and Paul and Ann Lux Associates L.P. on the out-of-state purchase of two aircraft, holding that APLUX was not entitled to resale exemption on the purchase of either aircraft.After purchase, both aircraft - referred to as "the TBM" and "the Excel" - were brought to Missouri. APLUX asserted that it leased, on a non-exclusive basis, the TBM to its parent company, Luxco, Inc., and the Excel concurrently to both Luxco and Aero Charter, Inc. The AHC held that each lease agreement constituted a "sale" for purposes of the tax resale exemption set out in Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.018. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that a "sale" to Luxco did not occur, and therefore, APLUX was not entitled to a resale exemption based on the Luxco agreement. View "APLUX, LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the administrative hearing commission (AHC) determining that John Gott, who owned and operated a sole proprietorship providing portable toilets to customers, was liable for unpaid sales tax, use tax, and additions to tax and statutory interest as assessed by the director of revenue for the period of April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2017, holding that the AHC decision was authorized by law and supported by competent and substantial evidence on the record.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the AHC did not impermissibly extend the reach of the sales tax law to include AHC's portable toilet service, and therefore, Gott's gross receipts were subject to sales tax; (2) Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.010's plain language is clear and resolved this dispute without the Court having to resort to the "true object" test; and (3) the AHC did not violate Mo. Const. art. X, 26 because Gott was not engaged in a service or transaction not subject to sales, use, or transaction-based taxation. View "Gott v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) determining that SEBA, LLC was liable for unpaid state sales tax, statutory interest, and a five percent addition to tax owed as assessed by the director of revenue, holding that the AHC's decision was supported by substantial and competent evidence on the record.The AHC determined that SEBA was liable for unpaid sales tax in the amount of $38,540, minus the sales tax assessed on $26,567 in income generated from SEBA's exempt sales to three organizations the auditor initially included. The AHC found SEBA liable for five percent statutory interest because it was was negligent in reporting its taxable sales. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that substantial and competent evidence supported the AHC's decision. View "SEBA, LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) that certain equipment purchased by Dreyer Electric Co. was exempt from sales tax because it was "replacement equipment" "used directly in the manufacturing process," as those terms are used in Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.030.2(5), holding that the AHC erred.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the AHC correctly applied the three-factor "integrated plant doctrine" test set out in Floyd Charcoal Co. v. Director of Revenue, 599 S.W.2d 173 (Mo. banc 1980), to determine whether the subject replacement parts and equipment were "used directly in manufacturing"; but (2) the AHC erred in making specific findings as to some parts and then grouping all the parts together, including those it had not mentioned specifically in its decision, to find they were collectively integral to the electrical system that powered the machinery. The Court remanded the case for application of the integrated plant test to each type of replacement part or equipment purchased. View "Dreyer Electric Co., LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) holding that The Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, Inc. (the team) was the "purchaser" of certain items used in the renovation of Arrowhead Stadium and its related facilities and was, therefore, liable for sales and use tax on those items, holding that the AHC erred in determining that the team was the purchaser of the items.After the renovation was complete, the Director of Revenue conducted a sales and use tax audit and determined that the team was liable for sales and use tax on seven categories of contested items purchased from the nine vendors at issue in this appeal. The team appealed to the AHC, which found the team liable for sales tax and use tax on the items. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the team was not the source of the consideration for the contested items and, therefore, was not the purchaser of the items, as that term is used in Missouri's sales and use tax statutes. View "Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, Inc. v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission determining that DI Supply I, LLC's room furnishing sales to the Drury Hotels were not exempt from sales tax under the resale exemption in Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.010.1(11), holding that DI Supply failed to meet its burden to prove that the items it sold to Drury Hotels were resold by the hotels.An audit determined that DI Supply failed to remit sales tax on more than $11 million in taxable sales of room furnishings to Drury Hotels during the audit period. DI Supply contested the tax liability, arguing that the items of tangible personal property were purchased for resale to hotel guests and not subject to Missouri local sales or use tax. The Commission upheld $613,159 of the assessment for sales tax and interest. On appeal, DI Supply contested its sales tax liability for sales of room furnishings to Drury Hotels. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that DI Supply failed to show that Drury Hotels transferred title or ownership of the room furnishings and, therefore, failed to show the applicability of the resale exemption by clear and unequivocal proof. View "DI Supply I, LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law