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Justices reverse Tax Court, determine Miller Brewing owes

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Miller Brewing owes $806,366 in income tax on beer transported by common carriers to Indiana from its Milwaukee brewery, the Indiana Supreme Court determined in a ruling Thursday that reversed the state Tax Court, ending a decade-long dispute.

In a 4-1 ruling written by Justice Mark Massa, the court held that the Tax Court clearly erred in determining that an example of how taxes are to be assessed had the force of law.

“The Tax Court determined that Example 7 was an administrative rule with the force of law and that it operated to exempt Miller from liability for Indiana tax on income from sales of goods delivered by common carrier to Indiana customers. We find that this determination was clearly erroneous and hold that Example 7 does not have the force of law,” Massa wrote.

Miller in its appeal said that an administrative rule contained an example that said “[s]ales are not ‘in this state’ if the purchaser picks up the goods at an out-of-state location and brings them back into Indiana in his own conveyance.”

“Miller contends that the term ‘in his own conveyance’ includes not only vehicles owned by the purchaser himself, but also vehicles owned by common carriers hired by either the purchaser or the seller to transport the goods to Indiana. … That interpretation is plainly inconsistent with the language of the example; the ordinary reader would understand ‘his own conveyance’ to mean a conveyance owned by the purchaser, not a conveyance owned by anyone else, such as a third-party common carrier,” Massa wrote.

Justice Robert Rucker dissented, agreeing with the Tax Court that Indiana Code 6-3-2-2(e)(1) is ambiguous.

“I am not convinced an error was made here. Applying our cautious deference standard of review I would affirm the judgment of the Tax Court,” Rucker wrote.
 

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  • Indiana Courts rule law isn't binding.
    Seems to me these judges had to think and think of a way to make this issue not be settled in favor of the taxpayer. So lets see, the legislature enacts a law and provides examples of when the law is applicable. But, according to the Supreme Court, the law is vald but te examples aren't binding??? How is the "ordinary" man supposed to figure our what in the law is valid and what is not. Oh but wait, the the area leans in the taxpayer's favor, we'll just make it non-binding. Indiana has a seasoned tax court....Shame on the Supreme Court for just ruling so the State doesn't loose money.

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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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