WASHINGTON, D.C. - Because a company did not issue insurance or reinsurance contracts during the tax years at issue, a U.S. tax judge ruled June 18 that it did not receive more than 50 percent of its gross receipts from insurance premiums (Reserve Mechanical Corp. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 14545-16, U.S. Tax).
ALBANY, N.Y. - In a June 7 ruling, the New York Court of Appeals found that enforcement of a law that requires retailers on reservation land to prepay taxes on cigarette sales to patrons who are not members of the Seneca Nation of Indians does not run afoul of Indian Law Section 6 or the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 (Eric White, et al. v. Eric Schneiderman, et al., No. 59, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 1353).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 14 agreed to hear an appeal over the payment of employment taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) on a railroad's payment to a worker for time lost from work due to work-related injuries (BNSF Railway Company v. Michael D. Loos, No. 17-1042, U.S. Sup.).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California appeals panel on May 8 found that an underlying complaint failed to allege a claim against an insured arising from a wrongful act in its rendering of professional services that are "solely related" to a covered product, affirming a lower court's ruling that an errors and omissions insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify against the underlying suit (Lindsey Financial, Inc. et al. v. American Automobile Insurance Company, No. E067037, Calif., App., 4th Dist., Div. 2, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3164).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 27 that a company that purchased a contaminated site through a tax sale cannot shield itself from third-party liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it had a contractual relationship with the company that formerly owned the site (California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Westside Delivery LLC, No. 16-56558, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10763).
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).