Justices reverse Tax Court ruling favoring Caterpillar

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The Indiana Supreme Court Monday reversed a Tax Court ruling that favored Caterpillar Inc., holding the company could not deduct foreign-source dividend income when calculating its net operating losses for the years 2000 through 2003 for Indiana tax purposes.

The Indiana Department of Revenue rejected Caterpillar’s foreign-source dividend deduction and reduced its net operating loss by about $8.3 million. The company appealed to the Indiana Tax Court, where it prevailed. The department then appealed.

“At its core, the resolution of this case is straightforward: The Indiana (net operating loss) statute does not reference or incorporate the  foreign source dividend deduction, and the Tax Court clearly erred in holding that it did,” Loretta Rush wrote in her first opinion as chief justice, Indiana Department of State Revenue v. Caterpillar, Inc., 49S10-1402-TA-79.

“The Department correctly recognized that the Indiana tax statutes did not authorize Caterpillar to include foreign source dividend income in its Indiana NOL calculation. We also conclude that Caterpillar has not met its burden to show the Indiana tax statutes unconstitutionally discriminate against foreign commerce,” Rush wrote for the unanimous court.

The case was remanded to the Tax Court with instructions that summary judgment be entered on behalf of the Department of Revenue and denied to Caterpillar.

The court in a footnote said the department argued that allowing the Tax Court ruling to stand would produce millions of dollars in lost revenue for the state. However, the court granted Caterpillar’s motion to strike an affidavit that confirmed the precise magnitude of the fiscal impact because it was not designated as evidence before the Tax Court. Therefore, the Supreme Court could not rely on it when reviewing the Tax Court’s decision.

"(W)e hold that the Tax Court clearly erred when it adopted a false symmetry between Indiana (adjusted gross income) and Indiana NOLs, and we decline Caterpillar’s effort to apply the foreign source dividend deduction to its NOL calculations," the court held.



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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.