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These opinions were released by the Minnesota Tax Court.

Tax Court Digest: Jan. 17, 2018

Discovery

Sealing Documents

In this sales and use tax case, the parties engaged in settlement discussions and informal discovery, and appellant provided the Commissioner of Revenue with documents appellant considered to contain sensitive commercial information, including customer names and prices for certain business inputs. After formal discovery was commenced, appellant filed a motion to permanently seal certain documents the commissioner submitted in support of her motion to compel discovery, which it had obtained through the informal discovery. The Tax Court granted the motion.

8881-R Schoeneckers, Inc. v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Income Tax

Constitutionality

Appellant asserted that a state tax on his wages was unconstitutional and that he was therefore not required to file income tax returns. Appellant and the Commissioner of Revenue moved for summary judgment. The Tax Court concluded that Minnesota’s income tax is constitutional.

9019-R Sargent v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Income Tax

Recalculation

After the Tax Court granted the Commissioner of Revenue’s motion for summary judgment in this dispute over individual income taxes assessed against appellant for the years 2010 through 2014, the commissioner notified the court of the recalculated amounts. The Tax Court entered judgment in favor of the commissioner.

9019-R Sargent v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Judges

Removal

In this income taxation dispute, pro se appellant, who claimed the Federal Tax Code was not a law, sought to remove the judge. The Tax Court noted that the judge’s question to appellant was prompted by appellant himself, specifically, his assertion that the Internal Revenue Code is “not law” and not “a real law that requires me to pay a direct tax.”  It held that asking a question that allows a litigant to clarify his or her position is not equivalent to “fighting” for the opposing party.  Motion denied.

9019-R Sargent v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Property Tax

Constitutional Claims

These cases concern the value of two multi-tenant office buildings in Edina.  Petitioner sought transfer of these consolidated cases to the District Court, pursuant to Erie Mining Co. v. Commissioner of Revenue, for transfer back to the Tax Court with authority to decide its constitutional claim.  The Tax Court noted that, because petitioner’s due process claim arose under Minn. Stat. § 271.06, subd. 7—the statute obligating the Tax Court to follow the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure “where practicable”—it arose under the tax laws of the state.  Therefore, petitioner’s motion was granted with respect to constitutional issues.

27-CV-15-07711, 27-CV-16-05401, 27-CV-17-05394 OCC, LLC v. County of Hennepin

 

 

Property Tax

Dismissal

Petitioners’ property tax challenge was automatically dismissed by operation of law after petitioners failed to make their second-half payment. Roughly seven months after dismissal, petitioner sought leave to file a motion of unspecified nature, which was denied. Petitioner sought rehearing. The Tax Court denied the motion, noting that petitioner did not address its conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction to hear a motion in a dismissed case.

27-CV-15-20952 Johnson v. County of Hennepin

 

 

Property Tax

Expenses

After petitioner failed to respond to the county’s discovery requests in this property tax matter, and the county filed a motion to compel discovery, county moved for expenses. The Tax Court considered the county’s motion unopposed and granted the requested relief of $425 in expenses.

27-CV-16-05409 Urban Growth Prop. Ltd. P’ship v. County of Hennepin

 

 

Property Tax

Valuation

Petitioner’s contention in this matter was that his property on Jolly Ann Lake in rural Otter Tail County was unequally assessed in 2012, 2013, and 2015. The Tax Court concluded that petitioner failed to sustain his burden to prove that the subject property was unequally assessed, relative to other comparable properties, and failed to overcome the prima facie validity of the Department of Revenue’s nine month sales ratio studies as reliable evidence of the level of assessment. Affirmed.

56-CV-13-1038, 56-CV-14-1031, 56-CV-16-1228 Chodek v. County of Otter Tail

 

 

Scheduling Orders

Dismissal

Pro se petition failed to substantively comply with the Tax Court’s scheduling order by failing to submit required documents and failing to appear for trial. Therefore, the Tax Court dismissed the matter with prejudice.

62-CV-15-2856 Mayard v. County of Ramsey

 

 

Scheduling Orders

Dismissal

County moved to dismiss petitioner’s action, noting that petitioner had failed to comply with the scheduling order. Petitioner did not oppose the motion. The Tax Court dismissed the matter with prejudice.

27-CV-11-7904 QT Holdings LLC v. County of Hennepin

Discovery

Sealing Documents

In this sales and use tax case, the parties engaged in settlement discussions and informal discovery, and appellant provided the Commissioner of Revenue with documents appellant considered to contain sensitive commercial information, including customer names and prices for certain business inputs. After formal discovery was commenced, appellant filed a motion to permanently seal certain documents the commissioner submitted in support of her motion to compel discovery, which it had obtained through the informal discovery. The Tax Court granted the motion.

8881-R Schoeneckers, Inc. v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Income Tax

Constitutionality

Appellant asserted that a state tax on his wages was unconstitutional and that he was therefore not required to file income tax returns. Appellant and the Commissioner of Revenue moved for summary judgment. The Tax Court concluded that Minnesota’s income tax is constitutional.

9019-R Sargent v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Income Tax

Recalculation

After the Tax Court granted the Commissioner of Revenue’s motion for summary judgment in this dispute over individual income taxes assessed against appellant for the years 2010 through 2014, the commissioner notified the court of the recalculated amounts. The Tax Court entered judgment in favor of the commissioner.

9019-R Sargent v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Judges

Removal

In this income taxation dispute, pro se appellant, who claimed the Federal Tax Code was not a law, sought to remove the judge. The Tax Court noted that the judge’s question to appellant was prompted by appellant himself, specifically, his assertion that the Internal Revenue Code is “not law” and not “a real law that requires me to pay a direct tax.”  It held that asking a question that allows a litigant to clarify his or her position is not equivalent to “fighting” for the opposing party.  Motion denied.

9019-R Sargent v. Comm’r of Revenue

 

 

Property Tax

Constitutional Claims

These cases concern the value of two multi-tenant office buildings in Edina.  Petitioner sought transfer of these consolidated cases to the District Court, pursuant to Erie Mining Co. v. Commissioner of Revenue, for transfer back to the Tax Court with authority to decide its constitutional claim.  The Tax Court noted that, because petitioner’s due process claim arose under Minn. Stat. § 271.06, subd. 7—the statute obligating the Tax Court to follow the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure “where practicable”—it arose under the tax laws of the state.  Therefore, petitioner’s motion was granted with respect to constitutional issues.

27-CV-15-07711, 27-CV-16-05401, 27-CV-17-05394 OCC, LLC v. County of Hennepin

 

 

Property Tax

Dismissal

Petitioners’ property tax challenge was automatically dismissed by operation of law after petitioners failed to make their second-half payment. Roughly seven months after dismissal, petitioner sought leave to file a motion of unspecified nature, which was denied. Petitioner sought rehearing. The Tax Court denied the motion, noting that petitioner did not address its conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction to hear a motion in a dismissed case.

27-CV-15-20952 Johnson v. County of Hennepin

 

 

Property Tax

Expenses

After petitioner failed to respond to the county’s discovery requests in this property tax matter, and the county filed a motion to compel discovery, county moved for expenses. The Tax Court considered the county’s motion unopposed and granted the requested relief of $425 in expenses.

27-CV-16-05409 Urban Growth Prop. Ltd. P’ship v. County of Hennepin

 

 

Property Tax

Valuation

Petitioner’s contention in this matter was that his property on Jolly Ann Lake in rural Otter Tail County was unequally assessed in 2012, 2013, and 2015. The Tax Court concluded that petitioner failed to sustain his burden to prove that the subject property was unequally assessed, relative to other comparable properties, and failed to overcome the prima facie validity of the Department of Revenue’s nine month sales ratio studies as reliable evidence of the level of assessment. Affirmed.

56-CV-13-1038, 56-CV-14-1031, 56-CV-16-1228 Chodek v. County of Otter Tail

 

 

Scheduling Orders

Dismissal

Pro se petition failed to substantively comply with the Tax Court’s scheduling order by failing to submit required documents and failing to appear for trial. Therefore, the Tax Court dismissed the matter with prejudice.

62-CV-15-2856 Mayard v. County of Ramsey

 

 

Scheduling Orders

Dismissal

County moved to dismiss petitioner’s action, noting that petitioner had failed to comply with the scheduling order. Petitioner did not oppose the motion. The Tax Court dismissed the matter with prejudice.

27-CV-11-7904 QT Holdings LLC v. County of Hennepin

 


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