Justia Tax Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court
by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court holding that three roadside services offered by Big Al's Towing and Recovery were taxable under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 37-15-103(a)(i)(J), holding that the Wyoming Board of Equalization correctly concluded that the roadside services were not taxable under the statute.At issue were Big Al's roadside services for jumping-starting a vehicle, unlocking a vehicle, and replacing a flat tire with a spare tire. The Wyoming Department of Revenue determined that Big Al's owed taxes and interest on the roadside assistance revenue it collected between 2016 to 2019. The Board reversed, concluding that the roadside services did not constitute a taxable event. The district court reversed, ruling that the services were taxable under section 39-15-103(a)(I)(J). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board's decision that Big Al's roadside services were not taxable under the statute was in accordance with law. View "Big Al's Towing & Recovery v. State, Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the decision of the Wyoming State Board of Equalization (Board) affirming the tax assessment set forth by the Wyoming Department of Revenue (DOR) imposing severance and ad valorem property taxes on the waste mine gas (WMG) captured and used by Solvay Chemicals, Inc., holding that there was no error.Solvay used the WMG released from its trona mining operations to help fuel its soda ash processing plant during the years 2012 through 2015. The DOR imposed severance and ad valorem taxes on the WMG during those years. Solvay objected, arguing that the WMG was not taxable under the severance or ad valorem tax statutes. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Solvay failed to show the DOA and DOR improperly valued the WMG for production years 2012-2015. View "Solvay Chemicals, Inc. v. Wyoming Dep't of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the State Board of Equalization affirming the decision of the Wyoming Department of Revenue disallowing a deduction of bagging costs from the taxable value of its bagged soda ash, holding that Solvay Chemicals, Inc. was not entitled to deduct bagging costs from the taxable value of soda ash.In 2013-2015, Solvay deducted its soda ash bagging costs from the taxable value of the bagged soda ash it sold. The Department determined that Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-14-303(b) did not entitle Solvay to a separate deduction for bagging costs, and the Board and district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board did not err in determining that the Department's interpretation of section 39-14-303(b)(ii) was not erroneous or contrary to the plain language of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-14-303(b)(iv). View "Solvay Chemicals, Inc. v. Wyoming Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Wyoming Board of Equalization (Board) concluding that WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, LLC was entitled to deduct some of its "reservation fees," holding that the Board erred in interpreting the plain language of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-14-203(b)(vi)(C) in its decision.At issue on appeal was whether and to what extent WPX was entitled to deduct "reservation fees" under the "netback" severance tax valuation method, section(vi)(C), for natural gas production years 2013-2015. The Board concluded that WPX was entitled to deduct some of its reservation fees. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the statute allows WPX to fully deduct its pipeline reservation fees for months when some but not the full reserve capacity of gas was transported on that pipeline; (2) the statute does not allow WPX to deduct its Bison Pipeline reservation fees for months when it shipped no gas on the pipeline; and (3) the Board's conclusion that WPX cannot deduct any portion of its Bison Pipeline reservation fees it used to recoup pipeline construction costs was contrary to the plain language of the statute and the Bison agreement. View "Wyo. Department of Revenue v. WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the Board of County Commissioners of Laramie County and Laramie County Assessor Kenneth Guille (collectively, the County) and concluding that the durational residency requirement in Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-13-105(a)(vi) is constitutional, holding that there was no error.Section 39-13-105(a)(vi) grants qualified veterans an annual property tax exemption if they have been Wyoming residents for at least three years. Plaintiff brought this action seeking a declaration that the durational residency requirement for the veteran tax exemption is unconstitutional. The district court granted summary judgment for the County. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 39-13-105(a)(vi) does not infringe on Plaintiff's fundamental right to travel, and therefore, the rational basis test applies; and (2) the statute does not violate either the equal protection and privileges and immunities clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment or the constitutional right to interstate travel. View "Martin v. Board of County Commissioners of Laramie County" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court reversing the decision of the State Board of Equalization affirming the ruling of the County Board of Equalization against the Town of Pine Bluffs in its appeal from the Laramie County Assessor's denial of a request for exemption from taxation for a daycare facility operated by the Town, holding that the County Board's order was in accordance with law, was not arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion, and was supported by substantial evidence in the record.In 201y, the Town filed requests for exemption from the assessment of its daycare facility. The County Assessor denied the requests, and the County Board and State Board affirmed. The district court ruled in favor of the Town and reversed the decision of the State Board. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the order of the County Board, holding that the County Board's decision did not constitute reversible error. View "Eisele v. Town of Pine Bluffs" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Wyoming Board of Equalization affirming the determination of the Department of Revenue that Delcon Partners, LLC's purchase of a portion of Delcon, Inc's tangible and intangible assets was not exempt from sales tax, holding that the Department correctly concluded that the transaction was not excluded from the definition of "sale" under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-101(a)(vii)(N) and was subject to sales tax.Delcon Partners purchased twenty-eight percent of Delcon, Inc's assets. The Department determined that the transaction was not exempt from sales tax because Delcon Partners did not purchase at least eighty percent of the total value of the assets, including cash and accounts receivable. The Board affirmed. Delcon appealed, arguing that section 39-15-101(a)(vii)(N) should be interpreted to require only a purchase of eighty percent of a seller's tangible personal property rather than eighty percent of its total Wyoming assets. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute plainly conditions exclusion from the definition of "sale" on the purchase of at least eighty percent of the value of all of a business entity's assets located in Wyoming, which did not happen in this case. View "Delcon Partners LLC v. Wyoming Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
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

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Wyoming Board of Equalization (Board) concluding that the issue disputed by the parties in this case was moot, holding that the Board exceeded its authority when it decided an issue that was not before it.Solvay Chemicals, Inc. appealed to the Board the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) assessment of the taxable value of soda ash produced at its trona mine in Sweetwater County, disputing the calculations the DOR used to determine the amount of the deduction for bagging some of the soda. After a contested case hearing, the Board requested supplemental briefs to address a question of statutory construction that had not been raised by either party. The Board then decided that the issue was whether Solvay was entitled to any bagging deduction at all. The Board ultimately concluded that because the governing statute did not allow for a separate deduction for bagging the issue was moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board exceeded its authority when it based its order on an issue not contested or addressed by either party during the contested case hearing. View "Solvay Chemicals, Inc. v. State Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
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