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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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  2. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  3. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  4. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  5. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

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