Justia Tax Law Opinion Summaries

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's issuance of a writ of administrative mandamus allowing the Assessor to levy more than four years' worth of escape assessments under Revenue and Taxation Code section 532, subdivision (b)(3). The court held that every single one of the prerequisites for the escape assessments challenged by Downey SPE is not only satisfied, but is undisputedly so. The court also held that the filing requirement set forth in section 480.1 is not satisfied when the taxpayer acquiring the legal entity recorded a document with less than all the information required by section 480.1. Therefore, taxpayers must strictly comply with those aspects of the notice requirements of section 480.1. In this case, it is undisputed that Downey SPE's act of recording the Certificate with the County Recorder's Office did not strictly comply with section 480.1's informational requirements (because it lacked several categories of information) or with section 480.1's requirement that the information be provided to the State Board. View "Prang v. L.A. County Assessment Appeals Board No. 2" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action brought by plaintiffs, customers of the DWP, claiming that DWP overcharged for electric power and then transferred the surplus funds to the City, thereby allowing the City to receive what amounts to an unlawful tax under California law. Plaintiffs alleged claims under the Hobbs Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and 42 U.S.C. 1983, as well as claims under state law.The panel agreed with its sister circuits that the Hobbs Act does not support a private civil right of action; held that municipal entities are not subject to liability under RICO when sued in their official capacities, but the RICO claims in this case were asserted against the defendant City and DWP officials in their personal capacities; held that the RICO claim was nonetheless properly dismissed because it failed as a matter of law because it did not adequately allege a predicate act in extortion under California law or the Hobbs Act, mail and wire fraud, or obstruction of justice; and held that, under the Johnson Act, the district court lacked jurisdiction over the the section 1983 claims. Because plaintiffs have provided no basis for concluding that any of these deficiencies could be cured by an amendment of the complaint, and based upon the panel's own thorough review of the record, the panel held that amendment would be futile. View "Abcarian v. Levine" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the tax court's denial of petitioners' motion for costs under 26 U.S.C. 7630. Petitioners moved for costs after a dispute over an IRS notice of deficiency assessing them about $51,000 in taxes, penalties, and interest that resulted in their favor. The court held that, given the available facts, the tax court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that the IRS's position was substantially justified. In this case, the record plainly reflects a discrepancy between petitioners' return and the IRS's third-party material. Furthermore, when the Commissioner answered, the IRS had not received any substantiating documents from petitioners. Therefore, the tax court did not abuse its discretion. View "Johnson v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Land Court judge ruling that the statutory scheme set forth in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 60, 52 did not permit assignees of tax title accounts to include their own subsequent tax payments in the amount required for redemption, holding that the judge did not err.In 2011, City took tax title to Owners' property. Owners did not pay their real estate taxes in 2012 through 2015. In 2016, City assigned Appellant its tax title to the property. Appellant initiated proceedings to foreclose Owners' right to redeem the property. Owners exercised their right of redemption. In 2018, Appellant asked the Land Court to find that the redemption amount include the taxes owed to City at the time Appellant was assigned the tax title account, the taxes that Appellant had paid on the property from 2016 through 2018, and statutory interest on the unpaid real estate taxes and the taxes paid by Appellant. The judge concluded that tax payments made by section 52 assignees subsequent to the assignment of the tax title account could not be included in the redemption amount. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that section 52 assignees of tax title accounts may not include their own subsequent tax payments, and interest thereon, in their redemption demands. View "Tallage Lincoln, LLC v. Williams" on Justia Law

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In this fifth case arising from an ongoing dispute between Plaintiffs and Glacier County and certain county officials (collectively, the County), the Supreme Court reversed the district court's grant of Plaintiffs' motion for appointment of a financial receiver for the County, holding that the court abused its discretion.Plaintiffs alleged claims against the County regarding alleged financial mismanagement and non-compliance with government budgeting, auditing, and tax laws. By motion filed prior to filing their complaint, Plaintiffs sought appointment of a financial receiver pendente lite to assure that the budgeting, tax levying, expenditure and disbursement, and accounting laws were strictly complied with. The district court refused to appoint a receiver for the purpose requested by Plaintiffs but appointed a more limited receivership to determine the extent of personal liability for the County officials for deficit spending. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court (1) erred in appointing a receiver for a stated purpose in excess of and unrelated to the limited purpose of a receivership pendente lite; and (2) erred in basing the receivership on a preliminary adjudication of the ultimate merits of its underclass claims for relief and on a reason that did not establish or contribute to the requisite necessity for appointment of a receiver under section 27-20-102(3). View "Gottlob v. DesRosier" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendants' motion to dismiss claims asserted against Glacier County officials (collectively, the County) in Plaintiffs' complaint due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding that the district court did not err.This was the fourth case arising from a dispute between Plaintiffs and the County regarding alleged financial mismanagement and non-compliance with government budgeting, auditing, and tax laws. The County sought dismissal of certain claims under Mont. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), arguing that subject matter jurisdiction was lacking because no express or implied right to remedy existed. The district court denied the motion on the ground that Mont. Code Ann. 15-1-406 through -408 provided and express private right and related remedies, and thus related subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed without prejudice to issues properly preserved and raised pursuant to Mont. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), holding that the district court did not err in denying the County's Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss. View "Gottlob v. DesRosier" 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 judgment of the tax court determining that Minnesota could tax an apportioned share of the income from the sale of a business as unitary business income, holding that the gain from the sale is business income of a unitary business.YAM Special Holdings, Inc. sold a majority interest in its Go Daddy business and reported the gain from the sale as income not subject to Minnesota tax. The Commissioner of Revenue assessed tax on an apportioned share of the income. On appeal, the tax court concluded that the income from the sale was business income subject to Minnesota tax. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the income generated from the transaction was business income of a unitary business, and therefore, Minnesota may tax that income through apportionment. View "YAM Special Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was the computation of the broadband credit limits that a taxpayer may use against its franchise-tax and income-tax liabilities. During the tax periods at issue, AT&T Mobility II, LLC, and BellSouth Telecommunications operated telecommunications enterprises and made significant investments in broadband technology developments throughout Mississippi, generating Broadband Investment Credits (Broadband Credits) under Mississippi Code Section 57-87-5. BellSouth Mobile Data, SBC Alloy Holdings, New BellSouth Cannular Holdings, New Cingular Wireless Services, SBC Telecom, and Centennial were all direct or indirect corporate owners of AT&T Mobility II. The taxpayers here each filed a separate franchise-tax return and were included as affiliated group members in the combined corporate income-tax return filed on behalf of the affiliated group. The Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR) determined that the broadband credits the taxpayers had claimed had been improperly applied to an amount greater than the credit cap of 50 percent of the taxpayers’ tax liabilities according to Mississippi Code Section 57-87- 5(3) (Rev. 2014). The MDR disallowed portions of the broadband credits claimed by the taxpayers and assessed additional franchise taxes, interest and penalties to the taxpayers separately on several dates between December 22, 2014, and May 20, 2015. The taxpayers argue that each taxpayer is jointly and severally liable for the total combined income-tax liability of the affiliated group, therefore making the income-tax liability of each taxpayer the same as the total combined income-tax liability of the affiliated group. The chancellor granted summary judgment in favor of the taxpayers and ruled that the taxpayer’s tax liabilities under Chapters 7 and 13 of Title 271 of the Mississippi Code was the aggregate of the taxpayer’s separate franchise-tax liability and the total combined income-tax liability of the affiliated group. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor's ruling on the credit-computation issue. "The plain and unambiguous language of Section 57-87-5 clearly limits broadband credits that a taxpayer may take in any given year to 50 percent of the aggregate of the taxpayers’ franchise-tax liability and the total combined income-tax liability of the affiliated group." View "Mississippi Dept. of Revenue v. SBC Telecom, Inc. et al." on Justia Law