MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal magistrate judge erred in declining to issue warrants for the production of emails related to a tax fraud investigation, the U.S. government argues in a July 18 motion asking the court to review and vacate that decision, arguing that its warrant applications comported with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - After finding that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are considered tax assessments and are not regulated by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and another federal law, a California federal judge on July 17 granted a motion filed by several government entities and a company to dismiss a case against them, but remanded claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to state court (In re Hero Loan Litigation, No. 16-02478, No. 16-02491, No. 16-08943, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111771).
EDINBURGH, Scotland - A United Kingdom energy company on June 19 gave updates on a dispute with the Indian Income Tax Department, stating that an international arbitration over a tax assessment is progressing and that final hearings in the case will be held next year.
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 16 partially granted a tax firm's motion to strike parts of an answer to its complaint in which it asserts that various defendants infringed on its trademarks and violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), but refused to strike parts of the answer that assert an affirmative defense such as unclean hands or other equitable defense (Anderson Tax LLC v. Stephane Laffont-Reveilhac, et al., No. 17-cv-01311-EMC, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93298).
ATLANTA - In a case over fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, a Georgia federal judge granted in part insurers' motion to compel on June 12, ordering a reinsurer to provide missing tax documents to the insurers (Canal Insurance Co. and Canal Indemnity Co. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd,, et al., No. 15-cv-03331, N.D. Ga.).
ATLANTA - In a case over fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, a Georgia federal judge granted in part insurers' motion to compel on June 12, ordering a reinsurer to provide missing tax documents to the insurers (Canal Insurance Co. and Canal Indemnity Co. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd., et al., No. 15-cv-03331, N.D. Ga.).
NEW YORK - A pension fund has properly pleaded a majority of its federal securities law claims alleging that a company, certain of its officers and directors and the underwriters of its initial public offering (IPO) concealed from investors that the company was expected to see a tax increase that would substantially affect revenue, a federal judge in New York ruled May 23 in granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion to dismiss (Yi Xiang, et al. v. Inovalon Holdings Inc., et al., No. 16-4923, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78207).
ATLANTA - In a case over fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, various individual defendants in a May 18 brief oppose a request by insurers for a Georgia federal court to compel them to provide tax returns and bank account records pertaining to a reinsurer because the motion is premature (Canal Insurance Co. and Canal Indemnity Co. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd, et al., No. 15-cv-03331, N.D. Ga.).
DENVER - A Colorado Supreme Court majority on May 15 determined that blunt wraps are a tobacco product and subject to taxation under Colorado's tobacco tax because they are a "kind" or "form" of tobacco and fall within "the plain language of 'tobacco products'" under Colorado's tobacco tax (Colorado Department of Revenue, et al. v. Creager Mercantile Co. Inc., No. 15SC266, Colo. Sup., 2017 Colo. LEXIS 376).
RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on April 13 found that a cigar company that filed a counterclaim against the owner of several properties in Nevada failed to state a "cognizable" counterclaim in a suit where the property owner claimed that the cigar company failed to collect taxes on tobacco products as required by Nevada law (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56886).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Native American tribe can seek through discovery tax return information from the Internal Revenue Service for people who worked for the tribe in an effort to avoid paying withholding taxes for workers the IRS reclassified from contractors to employees, the U.S. Tax Court held April 5 (Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 28120-14, U.S. Tax, 2017 U.S. Tax Ct. LEXIS 12).
MINNEAPOLIS - A causation and liability expert "provides a meaningful summary of his accounting malpractice opinion," a Minnesota federal judge held March 28, also granting in part summary judgment to accounting firms to preclude recovery as to damages related to certain penalties, payment for delinquent taxes and attorney fees (Boris A. Miksic v. Boeckermann Graftsrom Mayer LLC, et al., No. 15-539, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46906).
AUSTIN, Texas - On remand from the Texas Supreme Court, a state appellate panel on March 24 found that a tax enacted on nonparticipating manufacturers in a statewide tobacco settlement does not violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and reversed summary judgment granted to the small tobacco companies (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition and Global Tobacco Inc., No. 03-13-00753-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2547).
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on March 23 refused to dismiss an insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit challenging coverage for a lawsuit alleging that the insured's employee filed fraudulent tax returns, finding that the factors weigh in favor of the federal court retaining jurisdiction (Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. K R Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 15-16264, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42011).
LOS ANGELES - A class of customers who purchase skin puncture lancets and test strips used by diabetics and filed a class complaint seeking an order to compel pharmacies to file a claim seeking a refund of the sales tax paid for those items failed to establish that the necessary "unique circumstances" exist that would require a court to create a new tax refund remedy, a California appellate panel ruled March 13 (Michael McClain, et al. v. Sav-On Drugs, et al., Nos. B265011 and B265029, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 217).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on March 9 removed a suit in which it is accused of creating an overly broad list of e-cigarette and tobacco products under the Tobacco Products Act of Pennsylvania that are taxed to federal court in Pennsylvania because many of the claims are based in federal law (Kingdom Vapor, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, No. 3:02-at-06000, Pa. M.D.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 14 dismissed a class suit accusing a retailer of charging excessive taxes on purchases where coupons are used, holding that the New York Tax Commission has the exclusive responsibility for examining those types of claims (Susan Kupferstein, et al. v. The TJX Companies, Inc., No. 15-5881, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20720).
LONDON - A U.K. oil and gas company on Feb. 7 said an international arbitral tribunal has issued an award on its treaty claims against Ukraine, awarding it $11.8 million in damages related to royalties and production taxes its subsidiary paid.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 23 granted summary judgment to a group of government officials and dismissed the complaints brought by two Native American nations with prejudice after finding that an amendment to a tax on Native American-made cigarettes does not violate the tribes' right to tribal sovereignty (Seneca Nation of Indians, et al. v. David Patterson, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00687, W.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9060).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 13 vacated a district court's order granting summary judgment to the federal government and remanded a suit brought by a Native American tribe over tobacco taxes with directions to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the claims brought by the tribe are barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (Confederated Tribes And Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation v. Alcohol and Trade Tobacco Bureau, et al., No. 14-35165, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22103).
SAN DIEGO - Affirming two lower courts' rulings, the California Supreme Court on Dec. 12 determined that online travel companies (OTCs) do not meet the definition of hotel "operators" in a San Diego tax ordinance and, thus, are not liable for paying transient occupancy tax amounts assessed by the city on hotel customers (In Re Transient Occupancy Tax Cases, No. S218400, Calif. Sup.; 2016 Cal. LEXIS 9592).