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Tax Court rules in brewery's favor

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Ruling on an issue that previously has come before the Indiana Tax Court, Senior Judge Thomas Fisher has upheld that sales to Indiana customers who hired common carriers to pick up alcohol at an Ohio facility shouldn’t have been included in the sales factor of Miller Brewing Co.’s adjusted gross income tax and supplemental net income tax.

Miller appealed the Indiana Department of State Revenue’s denial of its claims for a refund of Indiana adjusted gross income tax and supplemental net income tax paid for the 1997-1999 tax years. In 2005, the Tax Court ordered the department to refund the AGIT paid by Miller for the 1994-1996 tax years.

At issue is whether for purposes of calculating its AGIT liability, Miller’s sales to Indiana customers are allocated to Indiana if those customers hired common carriers (carrier-pickup sales) to get their merchandise at Miller’s Ohio facility.

Miller didn’t allocate the income it got from the carrier-pickup sales to Indiana when calculating its AGIT liabilities. It paid the proposed assessments after the state revenue department audited its returns and decided Miller should have paid tax on that sales income. Miller filed for a refund, which the department denied.

In Miller Brewing Company v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 49T10-0607-TA-69, Judge Fisher looked to Indiana Code 6-3-2-2(e)(1), which says “[s]ales of tangible personal property are in this state if[ ] the property is delivered or shipped to a purchaser, other than the United States government, within this state, regardless of the f.o.b. point or other conditions of the sale[.]” The department argued that the plain language of the statute mandates the application of the “destination rule,” which says that the income from sales should be apportioned to the purchaser’s state regardless of where the sale actually happens.

Miller, on the other hand, said the statute could be construed in two different ways, and argued that the department’s own regulation interpreting how the Legislature intended the statute to apply – 45 I.A.C. 3.1-1-53(7) – should control. It says “[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.”

Judge Fisher found the department’s interpretation of I.C. 6-3-2-2(e)(1) to be more persuasive than Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act, Indiana’s membership in the Multistate Tax Commission in 2007 after a 30-year absence, or how other states construe their statutory language, arguments the revenue department had advanced.

“In determining its Indiana AGIT liability for the years at issue, Miller did nothing more than follow Indiana law: pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-3-2-2(e)(1) and 45 I.A.C. 3.1-1-53(7), its carrier-pickup sales were not Indiana sales and therefore not allocable to Indiana,” he wrote, granting summary judgment for Miller and against the revenue department.

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  1. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

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  3. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  4. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  5. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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