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In reversal, tax court says estate not entitled to interest on refund, judgment

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The estate of a Lowell chef and food production expert is not entitled to interest on a refund or judgment interest that the Lake County probate court awarded, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Friday.

After John A. Schoenenberger died in November 2003, his estate made an estimated inheritance tax payment of $1.8 million to the Lake County Treasurer, preserving a right to a 5 percent discount for an early estimated payment.

In 2008, the probate court determined the tax liability and subsequently Lake County sent a refund of $742,128. The estate then asked for interest on the funds the county had held for years, but the county declined, citing Indiana Code 6-4.1-10-1 as amended in 2007. The estate said that because the 1980 language was in effect at the time the payment was made, that law should have governed.

When the matter went to probate court, the estate was granted summary judgment and $199,347 in interest plus judgment interest.

“The estate … did file a valid refund claim on April 14, 2008, six days after the probate court determined its inheritance tax liability and more than nine months after the 2007 version took effect. Thus, the 2007 version of Indiana Code § 6-4.1-10-1 governed any right the estate had to interest on its refund claim,” Tax Court Judge Martha Wentworth wrote in Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, Inheritance Tax Division v. The Supervised Estate of John A. Schoenenberger, Deceased, 49T10-1010-TA-54.

“That version of the statute provided that the estate would receive interest on its refund claim if the Department failed to pay the refund claim within ninety days of its receipt. See I.C. § 6-4.1-10-1(b)-(c) (2007). The Department paid the claim well within that period, just twenty-nine days after receiving the claim; therefore, the probate court erred in granting the Estate interest on its refund claim and judgment interest thereon.”

The matter was remanded to the court for further proceedings.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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