LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 20 held that a consumer who claims that a tax preparation company, its franchisee and other entities manipulated tax returns and submitted them to the Internal Revenue Service without tax payers' consent has sufficiently alleged a theory of direct fraud by the franchisor and its subsidiary (Luis Lomeli v. Jackson Hewitt, Inc., et al., No 17-02899, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27087).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Plaintiffs alleging negligence by Intuit Inc. related to incidents of fraudulent tax return filings were denied the opportunity to pursue an interlocutory appeal of an order compelling arbitration on Feb. 16, when a California federal judge concluded that an appeal would not serve to advance resolution of the case (In re Intuit Data Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-01778, N.D. Calif.).
EDINBURGH, Scotland - A U.K. energy firm on Jan. 23 gave an update on its pending arbitration with the Indian Income Tax Department, announcing that a final hearing is scheduled for later this year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Jan. 12 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to South Dakota in its challenge of the continued applicability of a 25-year-old case that bars the state's ability to enforce a new law requiring certain out-of-state internet retailers to collect and remit sales tax on sales to South Dakota residents (South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., et al., No. 17-494, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a Dec. 15 motion, Intuit Inc. asks a California federal court to again dismiss negligence and aiding and abetting claims brought against it related to incidents of fraudulent tax return filings, arguing that the plaintiffs did not establish any liability for the criminal activities of third parties (In re Intuit Data Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-01778, N.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Nov. 27 denied seven motions to exclude expert testimony in an Indian tribe's efforts to avoid state and county taxes for the town it developed, saying that with a bench trial scheduled rather than a jury trial, he will be able to determine at trial whether the experts' testimony is proper (The Tulalip Tribes, et al. v. The State of Washington, et al., No. 2:15-cv-00940, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194404).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In the wake of orders partly dismissing their claims and compelling arbitration of some parties' claims, the plaintiffs in a putative class action against Intuit Inc. filed an amended complaint in California federal court Nov. 17, restating negligence and unfair competition claims related to the filing of fraudulent tax returns by criminals that exploited purported lax security in Intuit's TurboTax software (In re Intuit Data Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-01778, N.D. Calif.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Reorganized chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace & Co. will receive an additional $1.6 million tax refund from the U.S. government after a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge found Oct. 23 that the Internal Revenue Service used the wrong percentage rate when figuring the refund (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy, 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3679).
SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Court of Appeals on Oct. 18 upheld an administrative law judge's affirmation of the Oregon Employment Department's finding that Oregon franchisees were not independent contractors but were employees of a Washington-based franchisor that was responsible for $138,029.26 in unemployment insurance taxes (National Maintenance Contractors, LLC v. Employment Department, No. A158760, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 1271).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 13 held that there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the record keeper of a retirement plan breached a fiduciary duty when it followed a retirement committee's instruction to freeze the assets in a tax savings retirement plan account, granting the record keeper's motion for summary judgment (Dr. Sujata Vyas v. Bhaskar Vyas, et al., No. 15-02152, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170029).
LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 26 affirmed a decision by the Michigan Tax Tribunal to grant summary disposition to the Michigan Department of Treasury after finding that a man who purchased a large quantity of cigarettes and later shipped them to a friend to be resold was personally liable for paying taxes on those cigarettes under Michigan's Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) (Davor Vulic v. Department of Treasury, No. 333255, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1513).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 22 found that a film tax credit company is ineligible to receive funds from the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement because it qualifies as a financial services business that is not included in the settlement agreement (Claimant ID 100153748 v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 16-31079, 5th Cir.).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Sept. 12 filed a letter with the presiding judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that the company offers "no credible argument" for its contention that the company is entitled to the taxation of costs in the litigation (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that lenders did not intentionally defraud a company in relation to payments for insurance and taxes that were not made into an escrow account, California federal judge on Aug. 30 dismissed the company's claims for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (Crescenzo 1, L.P. v. Deutsche Bank National Trust, et al., No. 3:17-CV-1018, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140186.)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - In an Aug. 28 filing in Alabama federal court, the U.S. government states that it "persists in its request" from a July 18 motion to review and vacate a magistrate's order denying warrants for the production of emails related to a tax fraud investigation, arguing that a subsequent 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the search of email accounts has no bearing on the present case (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.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 upheld a district court decision to dismiss counterclaims against an Indian tribe in a tobacco tax lawsuit after finding that the counterclaims are barred by sovereign immunity (Quinault Indian Nation v. Mary Linda Pearson, No. 15-35263, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16510).
TRENTON, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey Tax Court judge on Aug. 9 found that a cigar wholesaler is not immune from a state tax on tobacco because it did not keep adequate records showing that it sold tobacco to an out-of-state buyer (Cigar Stop Inc. v. Director of the Division of Taxation, No. 015587-2014, N.J. Tax, 2017 N.J. Tax Unpub. LEXIS 46).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Aug. 10 found that a tobacco tax labeled as a "smoking cessation fee" is a revenue-raising tax because the money generated from it is being used to balance the state's budget and, therefore, that it should be stricken in its entirety (James P. Naifeh, et al. v. State of Oklahoma, et al., No. 116102, Okla. Sup.).
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. - A businessowners liability insurer on July 28 asked a West Virginia federal court to enter a default judgment against its insured in its declaratory judgment lawsuit challenging coverage for seven lawsuits alleging that the insured's employee filed fraudulent tax returns (Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. K R Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 15-16264, S.D. W.Va.).
BALTIMORE - A self-funded, self-administered group health plan failed to allege a claim over which jurisdiction would exist under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA) "internal revenue tax" or "any sum" provisions, a Maryland federal judge ruled July 21, dismissing the health plan's lawsuit alleging that it was improperly required to pay reinsurance contributions under the ACA (Electrical Welfare Trust Fund v. United States of America, et al., No. 16-2186, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113687).
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).