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).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Dec. 5 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari for a case in which a man convicted of tax evasion, which was based on evidence obtained from a mirror image copy of his computer hard drives, had asked the court to consider whether the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied to evidence obtained via a search warrant issued based on a predicate violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Stavros M. Ganias v. United States of America, No. 16-263, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 3 granted an English company's petition to confirm a $3.2 million arbitral award plus interest issued in its favor in relation to a patent license agreement dispute, finding that the respondent was not entitled to deduct amounts from the award to satisfy Taiwanese tax laws (Mondis Technology Ltd. v. Wistron Corporation, No. 15-CV-02340, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152785).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Oct. 31 brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. government opposes a grant of certiorari to a man convicted of tax evasion, arguing that law enforcement properly retained mirrored copies of the man's hard drives via a warrant that was valid per the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Stavros M. Ganias v. United States of America, No. 16-263, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Canadian resource company on Sept. 27 said the Romanian National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) has reversed a tax assessment in which it sought $13.7 million in value added tax and penalties and announced updates in a related arbitration currently pending before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) (Gabriel Resources Ltd. and Gabriel Resources [Jersey] v. Romania [ICSID Case No. ARB/15/31]).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 16 gave reorganized Chapter 11 debtors Specialty Products Holding Corp. and affiliate Bondex International Inc. three more months to object to non-asbestos claims so the debtors can continue negotiating resolutions for several tax claims (In re: Specialty Products Holding Corp., et al., No. 10-11780, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SEATTLE - In a Sept. 12 brief filed in Washington federal court, Microsoft Corp. contends that documents sought by the Internal Revenue Service in an enforcement action "are protected by multiple privilege claims" as confidential legal and tax advisory communications (United States of America v. Microsoft Corp., et al., No. 2:15-cv-00102, W.D. Wash.).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that there is no coverage owed under an insurance policy's "computer fraud" provision for any transfers to a payroll company that were authorized by the insured, but remanded for the lower court to determine whether the policy's "computer fraud" or "funds transfer fraud" provisions cover the purported unauthorized transfers totaling $11,991.89 in a coverage dispute arising from unpaid federal payroll taxes (Pestmaster Services, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 14-56294, 9th Cir; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13829).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A Native American cigarette manufacturer was awarded summary judgment July 21 in New York federal court on most federal cigarette tax claims filed against it by the State of New York but lost summary judgment on state law claims for failure to sell unstamped cigarettes to licensed stamping agents and failure to file annual manufacturing compliance certifications (State of New York v. Mountain Tobacco Company, d/b/a King Mountain Tobacco Company, Inc., No. 12-cv-6276, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95329).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 29 denied a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought to stop the Internal Revenue Service from tapping a pension plan to collect back taxes (Jim Nemlowill v. United States of America, No. 16CV1642, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84843).
HACKENSACK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on June 28 dismissed class action claims against Dunkin' Brands Inc. alleging that it improperly assessed sales tax on certain items sold at local Dunkin' Donuts franchises (Ron Frate, et al. v. Dunkin' Brands Inc., et al., No. BER-L-1271-16, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1499).
PHOENIX - A social psychologist may opine in a tax-evasion lawsuit that certain people exhibit a general conspiracy mentality that makes them susceptible to belief in a wide variety of conspiracy theories, an Arizona federal judge ruled May 10; however, the judge barred the expert from testifying that a defendant's beliefs are sincerely held (United States of America v. Gary Steven Christensen, No. 14-08164, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61673).