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Tax Court allows for withdrawal of 29 requests for admissions

September 26, 2016

The Indiana Tax Court has ruled in favor of a recreational vehicle manufacturer and allowed a group of 29 separate requests for admissions to be withdrawn.

The case of Thor Industries, Inc. and subsidiaries v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, 49T10-1508-TA-00027, began in August 2015 when Thor Industries initiated a tax appeal challenging the Indiana Department of Revenue’s proposed assessments of additional adjusted gross income tax, interest and penalties for the end of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 tax periods.

After Thor failed to meet the Department of Revenue’s deadline for its first request for admissions repudiating its allegations, the department moved for summary judgment in July 2016, citing its request for admissions as evidence. Thor subsequently filed a motion to withdraw the admissions and requested an oral argument.

Although the Tax Court denied Thor’s request for oral argument, it ruled Friday that allowing Thor’s withdrawal of the admissions would subserve the merits of the case.

The Department of Revenue had argued that Indiana Trial Rule 36(A) prohibited litigants from filing a blanket request for withdrawal, but the Tax Court rejected that argument, saying the trial rule included no prohibitions against filing for withdrawal of all admissions at once.

The department also argued that allowing the withdrawal of Thor’s admissions would prejudice its case because it would place the “viability of its motion for summary judgment at issue ‘by triggering a sudden need for witnesses and evidence to support matters that the Department that were firmly established’ in less than a two-month period.”

But the Tax Court also rejected that argument, saying that after Thor missed the first request for admissions deadline in July, court deadlines for discovery, depositions and dispositive motions extended more than six months into the future, and no trial date had been set. Rather than taking advantage of that time for additional discovery, the department filed for summary judgment within 10 days of Thor missing the deadline, which the Tax Court said showed an unreasonable reliance on Thor’s admissions.

Thus, the Tax Court wrote Friday that withdrawing Thor’s admissions would not prejudice the Department of Revenue and granted Thor’s motion for withdrawal of all 29 admissions.
 

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