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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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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