Articles Posted in Tax Law

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Myria Holdings, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its primary place of business in Texas. Myria held an ownership interest in two subsidiaries doing business in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Revenue issued a final order concluding that Myria was ineligible to join a consolidated tax return with its subsidiaries because it did not derive taxable income from within Iowa under Iowa Code 422.33(1). The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Myria lacked a taxable nexus with the State of Iowa, and therefore, the Department correctly concluded that Myria lacked taxable income from within the State. View "Myria Holdings Inc. v. Iowa Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a class action petition against J.C. Penney asserting that the internet retailer unlawfully charged Iowa sales tax on shipping and handling charges. J.C. Penney forwarded the tax to the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) pursuant to the Iowa version of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Act (SSUTA). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of J.C. Penney. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly granted J.C. Penney’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s statutory claims grounded in SSUTA, as the SSUTA does not create a private cause of action; (2) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims related to the alleged unlawful payment of taxes on the ground that the remedies under Iowa Code 423.45(3) and 423.47 are exclusive remedies barring other claims for relief for wrongful payment of taxes under SSUTA; and (3) Plaintiff was not entitled to recover on her claims alleging shipping and handling misrepresentations. View "Bass v. J.C. Penney Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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A citizens group and a school district (collectively, Appellants) challenged a city’s amendment of an economic development urban renewal plan. Specifically, Appellants challenged the use of tax increment financing (TIF) for economic development purposes and argued that the plan violated Iowa law by unlawfully extending the duration of a TIF area, unlawfully using revenue from that TIF area to support development in other parts of the city, and failing to conform to the terms of the city’s general plan. The district court ruled in favor of the city. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the city impermissibly extended the duration of the TIF area; (2) revenue may be shared within the consolidated, larger TIF area subject to certain time limits; and (3) the city’s general plan and the urban renewal plan were not inconsistent with each other. View "Concerned Citizens of Southeast Polk Sch. Dist. v. City of Pleasant Hill" on Justia Law

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The Polk County assessor set the 2011 valuation of Wellmark, Inc.’s corporate headquarters located in Des Moines at $99 million. Wellmark protested. The Polk County Board of Review denied the protest. On appeal, the district court found the value of the property on January 1, 2011 was $78 million. At issue in this case was whether the property should have been valued as if it were a multi-tenant office building, which would likely be the result if the property were sold, or whether the property should have been valued according to its current use as a single-tenant headquarters building. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that while there had been a showing of no active market for a single-tenant office building such as the Wellmark property, value should be based on the presumed existence of a hypothetical buyer at the property’s current use. View "Wellmark, Inc. v. Polk County Bd. of Review" on Justia Law

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In 2012, the Iowa City Board of Review reclassified eighteen properties from commercial to residential for property tax purposes because the properties had recently been organized as multiple housing cooperatives. Two Iowa corporations organized the cooperatives under chapter 499A of the Iowa Code. The City of Iowa City appealed, arguing that the Board’s reclassification was improper because two natural persons, not two corporations, must organize multiple housing cooperatives under the Code. The City also argued that the organizers did not properly organize the cooperatives because each cooperative had more apartment units than members and section 499A.11 requires a one-to-one ratio. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Board and the intervening housing cooperatives. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) two Iowa corporations may organize a multiple housing cooperative under chapter 499A; and (2) the Code does not require a one-apartment-unit-per-member ownership ratio for a multiple housing cooperative to be properly organized. View "City of Iowa City v. Iowa City Bd. of Review" on Justia Law

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Dolphin Residential Cooperative, Inc. owned an apartment complex in Iowa City that consisted of twenty-two buildings comprising four hundred residential units. The Iowa City assessor classified the multiunit apartment buildings as commercial property for tax assessment purposes. Dolphin challenged this classification, arguing that because it was a multiple housing cooperative, organized under chapter 499A of the Iowa Code, the property should have been classified as residential property. The Iowa City Board of Review denied Dolphin’s request to reclassify the property, determining that because Dolphin was not properly organized under chapter 499A, Dolphin failed the organizational test for residential cooperatives adopted by the Supreme Court in Krupp Place 1 Coop, Inc. v. Board of Review. On appeal, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Dolphin, concluding that Dolphin met the organizational test set forth in Krupp and ordering the Board to reclassify the subject property as residential property for tax assessment purposes. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Dolphin was not properly established under section 499A.1(1), and therefore, the district court erred when it granted summary judgment to Dolphin and denied summary judgment to the Board. View "Dolphin Residential Coop., Inc. v. Iowa City Bd. of Review" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was the constitutionality of the statutory framework under which Iowa taxes the delivery of natural gas at variable tax rates depending on volume and the taxpayer’s geographic location within the state. Plaintiff filed with the Iowa Department of Revenue a claim for a refund of replacement tax Plaintiff paid for certain tax years, asserting that the replacement tax in Iowa Code 437A.5(2) violates the federal Equal Protection Clause, Iowa Const. art. I, 6, and the dormant Commerce Clause because it is based on the natural gas competitive service area in which a taxpayer is located. An administrative law judge denied Plaintiff’s refund claims and rejected the constitutional challenges to the replacement tax. The district court also denied each of Plaintiff’s constitutional challenges. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a rational basis exists for the variable excise tax imposed on the delivery of natural gas under section 437A.5, and therefore, Plaintiff failed to establish a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment or Iowa Const. art. I, 6; and (2) the natural gas delivery tax framework does not violate the dormant Commerce Clause. View "LSCP, LLLP v. Kay-Decker" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Cable One, Inc., which offers cable television and internet access, began offering Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service to its residential customers in Sioux City. In 2008 and 2009, the Iowa Department of Revenue determined that Cable One should be assessed based on the value of its telephone operating property in the state. Cable One appealed, arguing that it was not a telephone company subject to taxation under Iowa Code chapter 433 because VoIP is not the equivalent of telephone service. An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals entered summary judgment in favor of Cable One, concluding that the company did not fit the “historical context of a ‘telephone company.’” The Iowa State Board of Tax Review agreed with the ALJ that Cable One was not subject to assessment under chapter 433. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) wiring that was originally installed for cable television purposes but is now also used to provide VoIP service is a “telephone line”; and (2) therefore, Cable One, which operates these lines, is subject to central assessment for property tax purposes as a telephone company. View "Kay-Decker v. Iowa State Bd. of Tax Review" on Justia Law

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Russell Phillips, an employee of the Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad, filed a negligence action against the railroad. The jury returned a general verdict in favor of Phillips, and the district court awarded Phillips damages. The railroad paid Phillips the amount of the judgment but withheld a portion of the award to pay taxes allegedly due under the Railroad Retirement Act (RRTA). Phillips refused to execute a satisfaction of judgment, arguing that the railroad should have withheld any amount for tax purposes. Subsequently, the railroad moved for an order of satisfaction and discharge of judgment. The district court sustained the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an award for time lost is subject to tax withholding under the RRTA; and (2) the railroad fully satisfied the judgment. View "Phillips v. Chicago Cent. & Pac. R.R. Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law, Tax Law

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Appellants owned residential real estate in West Des Moines. In 2011, the Dallas County Board of Review established an assessment value of Appellants’ property for tax purposes. In 2012, the Board established a new, greater value for the property. Appellants filed a petition with the Board protesting the assessment. The petition stated that the protest was lodged against the 2011 property valuation. At a hearing before the Board, Appellants stated that they wished to protest the valuations for both 2011 and 2012. The Board denied Appellants’ protest, concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the 2011 protest was untimely. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Appellants’ petition was sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the Board and bring Appellants’ protest within the Board’s authority to review; and (2) the Board had the authority to entertain a request for amendment of Appellants’ petition and relate it back to the original filing. Remanded. View "Allen v. Dallas County Bd. of Review" on Justia Law