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Economic presence meets taxing requirement

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In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Tax Court has ruled that a bank didn't need to have a physical presence in the state to be subject to Indiana's Financial Institutions Tax.

In MBNA America Bank, N.A. & Affiliates v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, No. 49T10-0506-TA-53, MBNA America Bank appealed the Department of State Revenue's denial of its claims for a refund of the Indiana Financial Institutions Tax (FIT) it paid during the 1992-98 tax years. MBNA argued because its principal place of business is in Delaware and it doesn't have a place of business here nor did any of its employees come here on business, it wasn't subject to the FIT.

The bank believed under the Commerce Clause, which prohibits states from charging taxes on an out-of-state business unless it has a "substantial nexus" with the taxing state, a company has to have a physical presence in Indiana in order to be charged the FIT. The department moved for summary judgment on the issue.

Indiana Tax Judge Thomas Fisher determined the U.S. Supreme Court holdings in National Bellas Hess v. Department of Revenue of Illinois, 386 U.S. 753 (1967), and Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), don't control in the instant case because the U.S. Supreme Court didn't extend the physical presence requirement beyond sales and use taxes.

Because those cases don't control, it becomes a matter of first impression for the tax court to determine whether an economic presence can satisfy the "substantial nexus" requirement for purposes of the FIT. Judge Fisher relied on a Supreme Court of West Virginia case on the issue, adopted its reasoning in Tax Commissioner of West Virginia v. MBNA American Bank, 640 S.E.2d 226 (W. Va. 2006), and held an economic presence is sufficient to meet the substantial nexus requirement.

Based on the facts in the instant case, MBNA had an economic presence in Indiana and thus had a substantial nexus with Indiana for purposes of the FIT. Judge Fisher granted the department's motion for summary judgment.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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