Ex-jewelry store operators lose tax appeal

November 20, 2015

The operators of a former jewelry store in central Indiana were unable to convince the Indiana Tax Court they are entitled to more than $160,000 in sales tax refunds.

J.S. Marten Inc., Janice S. Marten and Christopher M. Marten appealed the Indiana Department of State Revenue’s denial of their claim for refund of sales tax remitted for 2004, 2005 and 2006 tax years. They paid $162,529.11 in sales tax for those years in 2008; four years later, the Martens sought a refund of all but $132.77 that they remitted. The DOR denied the refund in October 2012 and the Martens initiated their tax appeal in January 2013.

The DOR argued that the tax court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this appeal because the Martens didn’t timely file a claim for a refund of sales tax. But that does not doom the Tax Court from hearing the matter, as it has exclusive subject matter over all original tax appeals, Senior Judge Thomas Fisher pointed out. Subject matter jurisdiction does not depend on the sufficiency or correctness of the averments in the petition.

But the Martens’ failure to timely state a claim upon which relief can be granted does doom their appeal. They paid the sales taxes in question in 2008 but did not seek a refund until 2012. Statute requires a person to file a refund claim within three years of the due date of the return or the date of payment.

“The facts alleged in the Martens’ petition do not rebut the fact that their refund claim was not timely filed nor do they raise an alternative basis for relief,” Fisher wrote. “Accordingly, the Department’s Motion to Dismiss on the basis that the Martens failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is hereby GRANTED.”

The matter is J.S. Marten, Inc., Janice S. Marten, and Christopher M. Marten v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, 49T10-1301-TA-8.



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