Articles Posted in Tax Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the tax court upholding the decision of the Commissioner of Revenue to include Pell grants in its calculation of Relators’ household income, holding that “nontaxable scholarship or fellowship grants” as used in Minn. Stat. 290A.03(3)(a)(2)(xiii) is plain and unambiguous and includes Pell grants. Household income is used to determine eligible for, and the amount of, a property tax income and includes “nontaxable scholarship or fellowship grants.” Relators argued that Pell grants are not scholarships or fellowships and therefore cannot be included in the income calculation made to determine the amount of the property tax refund. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Pell grants are nontaxable and therefore includable in calculating household income. View "Waters v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether a notice to remove an assigned tax court judge was timely and, if so, whether the assigned judge erred in finding that it was impracticable to honor the notice. OCC, LLC, a property owner in Hennepin County, petitioned for a writ of mandamus that directed the tax court to vacate an order that quashed OCC’s notice to remove the assigned tax court judge and to honor the notice. The tax court declined specifically to decide whether the notice was timely and, instead, concluded that it was not “practicable” to honor the removal notice. The Supreme Court granted OCC’s petition for mandamus, directed the tax court to vacate its order quashing the notice to remove, and directed the tax court to honor that notice by assigning OCC’s consolidated tax proceedings to a different judge, holding (1) OCC’s notice to remove was timely under Minn. R. Civ. P. 63.03; and (2) the record did not establish that honoring the timely notice to remove was impracticable in this case. View "OCC, LLC v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The Supreme Court held that Minnesota’s Legend Drug Tax, Minn. Stat. 295.52(4), applies to a non-resident pharmacy’s delivery of prescription drugs to Minnesota-based patients and doctors and that such application does not violate the Due Process Clause or Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Respondent-pharmacy requested funds from the Department of Revenue for taxes paid under the Legend Drug Tax on transactions between Respondent’s non-resident pharmacies and Minnesota-based patients and doctors. The Commissioner of Revenue denied the refunds. The Tax Court granted summary judgment for Respondent, concluding that the Legend Drug Tax did not apply to the transactions at issue. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the tax did apply to the transactions and that application of the tax comported with the Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the United States Constitution. View "Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, LLC v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the tax court lacked jurisdiction to consider a motion filed in a case arising from a tax petition that was automatically dismissed by operation of law. Ronald and Dee Johnson challenged the County’s assessment of their property taxes. The County automatically dismissed the petition by operation of law because the Johnsons had not paid a portion of their property taxes by the date required by law. The tax court declined to consider the Johnsons’ motion regarding their petition because the petition had been automatically dismissed by statute and had not been reinstated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the tax court correctly concluded that it no longer had jurisdiction over the dismissed petition. Specifically, the Court held (1) the requirements of Minn. Stat. 783.03(1) were met; and (2) the Johnsons’ arguments challenging the constitutionality of section 278.03(1) were without merit. View "Johnson v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The tax court correctly dismissed the appeals brought by several cooperatives (the Cooperatives) challenging the valuation orders of the Commissioner of Revenue for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 tax years because the appeals were not filed within the sixty-day deadline for appeals from orders of the Commissioner. On appeal, the Cooperatives argued that the two appeal paths provided by Minn. Stat. 273.372(2) effectively establish the single deadline of April 30 of the year in which the tax becomes payable. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the Cooperatives’ view that a single filing deadline governs all appeals under section 273.372 fails because the plain language of that statute establishes two different filing deadlines, depending on the appeal path chosen; and (2) the Cooperatives’ notices of appeal were governed only by a sixty-day deadline, and therefore, the tax court properly dismissed the appeals as untimely. View "Lake Country Power Cooperative v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that four irrevocable inter vivos trusts (the Trusts) lacked sufficient relevant contacts with Minnesota during the relevant tax year to be permissibly taxed, consistent with due process, on all sources of income as “resident trusts.” The Trusts filed their 2014 Minnesota income tax returns under protest, asserting that Minn. Stat. 290.01(7b)(a)(2), the statute classifying them as resident trusts, was unconstitutional as applied to them. The Trusts sought refunds for the difference between taxation as resident trusts and taxation as non-resident trusts. The Commissioner of Revenue denied the refund claims. The Minnesota Tax Court granted summary judgment for the Trusts, holding that the statutory definition of “resident trust” violates the Due Process Clauses of the Minnesota and United States Constitutions as applied to the Trusts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, for due process purposes, the State lacked sufficient contacts with the Trusts to support taxation of the Trusts’ entire income as residents. View "Fielding v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Minnesota Tax Court affirming the order of the Commissioner of Revenue that assessed Terrance Sargent’s income tax liability for tax years 2010-2014, holding that Sargent’s arguments on appeal were without merit. On appeal, Sargent argued that Minnesota’s income tax violates the Minnesota Constitution and the United States Constitution on several grounds. The Supreme Court affirmed the Minnesota Tax Court's decision after considering all of Sargent’s arguments, holding that they each were without merit. View "Sargent v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Commissioner of Revenue properly invoked her alternative-apportionment authority under Minn. Stat. 290.20(1) and applied an alternative apportionment method that fairly reflected the income of Associated Bank, N.A. and its affiliates (the Bank) allocable to Minnesota. The Bank, which included two LLC partnerships under Wisconsin law, objected to the Commissioner’s assessment of additional state corporate franchise tax liability for tax years 2007 and 2008. The Bank had calculated the tax owed based on the relevant statutes for apportioning income to Minnesota. The Commissioner found that applying the general apportionment formula to the LLCs did not “fairly reflect” the Bank’s “taxable net income allocable” to Minnesota. Accordingly, the Commissioner invoked her authority under section 290.20(1) and applied an alternative apportionment method to correct a distortion of reported income. After exhausting its administrative remedies, the Bank appealed to the tax court. Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in HMN Financial, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue, 782 N.W.2d 558 (Minn. 2010), the tax court agreed and reversed the Commissioner’s order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) HMN Financial is not dispositive; and (2) the Legislature plainly gave the Commissioner the authority to use an alternative apportionment method under the circumstances presented here. View "Associated Bank, N.A. v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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In this case regarding the determination of the tax court valuing Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation’s (MERC) natural gas pipeline distribution system for the years 2008 through 2012, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the tax court on remand, holding that the tax court followed the Court’s instructions on remand and properly applied the Court’s clarified standard to MERC’s claim of external obsolescence. On remand, the tax court found that MERC failed to demonstrate that external obsolescence affected the value of its property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the tax court correctly evaluated whether MERC’s evidence of external obsolescence was credible, reliable, and relevant; and (2) the tax court’s decision was justified by the evidence and in conformity with law. View "Minnesota Energy Resources Corp. v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

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At issue on certiorari was what evidence a tax court may rely upon in deciding whether the taxpayer has overcome the presumptive validity of the county’s assessment. Here, Taxpayer contested the County’s assessment of the fair market value of Taxpayer’s parking ramp. The tax court denied the County’s motion to dismiss, basing its decision on evidence presented in the County’s case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the tax court erred in considering the County’s evidence to decide the motion to dismiss because the relevant law permits only the Taxpayer’s evidence to be considered; but (2) the tax court did not abuse its discretion by holding, in the alternative, that Taxpayer’s evidence overcame the presumptive validity of the assessment. View "Court Park Co. v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law