Justia Wyoming Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Tax Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court reversing the decision of the State Board of Equalization affirming the ruling of the County Board of Equalization against the Town of Pine Bluffs in its appeal from the Laramie County Assessor's denial of a request for exemption from taxation for a daycare facility operated by the Town, holding that the County Board's order was in accordance with law, was not arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion, and was supported by substantial evidence in the record.In 201y, the Town filed requests for exemption from the assessment of its daycare facility. The County Assessor denied the requests, and the County Board and State Board affirmed. The district court ruled in favor of the Town and reversed the decision of the State Board. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the order of the County Board, holding that the County Board's decision did not constitute reversible error. View "Eisele v. Town of Pine Bluffs" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Wyoming Board of Equalization affirming the determination of the Department of Revenue that Delcon Partners, LLC's purchase of a portion of Delcon, Inc's tangible and intangible assets was not exempt from sales tax, holding that the Department correctly concluded that the transaction was not excluded from the definition of "sale" under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-101(a)(vii)(N) and was subject to sales tax.Delcon Partners purchased twenty-eight percent of Delcon, Inc's assets. The Department determined that the transaction was not exempt from sales tax because Delcon Partners did not purchase at least eighty percent of the total value of the assets, including cash and accounts receivable. The Board affirmed. Delcon appealed, arguing that section 39-15-101(a)(vii)(N) should be interpreted to require only a purchase of eighty percent of a seller's tangible personal property rather than eighty percent of its total Wyoming assets. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute plainly conditions exclusion from the definition of "sale" on the purchase of at least eighty percent of the value of all of a business entity's assets located in Wyoming, which did not happen in this case. View "Delcon Partners LLC v. Wyoming Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision Board of Equalization (Board) reversing the determination of the Department of Revenue (Department) that use of camp spots at the Johnson County Fairgrounds for use during the annual Johnson County Fair and Rodeo was subject to sales and lodging taxation, holding that the Board correctly determined that the campsites and rent received therefrom were not subject to taxation because the Johnson County Fair Board (Fair Board) was not a “vendor” as defined by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-101(a)(xv).For each of the campsites at issue, the County charged $25 per week and did not collect sales or lodging taxes. The Department concluded that the Fair Board was a non-exempt lodging vendor statutorily obligated to collect sales and lodging taxes for the campsite rentals. The Board reversed, concluding that the Fair Board was not a vendor and therefore not obligated to impose a tax on the fees charges for the use of the campsites. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination that the Fair Board was not a vendor and was therefore not required to impose an excise tax was supported by the record. View "State, Department of Revenue v. Board of County Commissioners of Johnson County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Wyoming Board of Equalization (Board) concluding that the issue disputed by the parties in this case was moot, holding that the Board exceeded its authority when it decided an issue that was not before it.Solvay Chemicals, Inc. appealed to the Board the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) assessment of the taxable value of soda ash produced at its trona mine in Sweetwater County, disputing the calculations the DOR used to determine the amount of the deduction for bagging some of the soda. After a contested case hearing, the Board requested supplemental briefs to address a question of statutory construction that had not been raised by either party. The Board then decided that the issue was whether Solvay was entitled to any bagging deduction at all. The Board ultimately concluded that because the governing statute did not allow for a separate deduction for bagging the issue was moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board exceeded its authority when it based its order on an issue not contested or addressed by either party during the contested case hearing. View "Solvay Chemicals, Inc. v. State Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a complaint brought by the Town of Pine Bluffs alleging that Laramie County illegally taxed a day care center that the Town owned and operated. The Town sought an injunction under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-13-109(c)(i), alleging that the property was used for a governmental purpose and was therefore exempt under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-11-105(a)(v). The district court granted the County’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the Town should have exhausted administrative remedies before resorting to an injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 39-13-109(c)(i) did not provide the Town a remedy for an error in assessing the day care center and that it needed to resort to the administrative process instead. View "Town of Pine Bluffs v. Eisele" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Board of Equalization’s decision affirming the ruling of the Wyoming Department of Revenue against PacifiCorp, Inc., which sought a ruling that its purchases of certain chemicals used in the process of generating electricity in coal-fired electrical generation facilities in Wyoming qualified for either the manufacturers’ sales tax exemption or the wholesalers’ sales tax exemption. The court held (1) The Board erred when it concluded that PacifiCorp is not a manufacturer under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-105(a)(iii)A); (2) the Board did not err when it held that certain chemicals necessary to treat water and sulfur dioxide emissions during the coal combustion processes that generate electricity are not “used directly” to generate electricity and are therefore not exempt from sales tax under section 39-15-105(a)(iii)(A); and (3) the Board did not err when it held that PacifiCorp’s purchases of certain chemicals and catalysts do not constitute wholesale purchases exempt from taxation under section 39-15-105(a)(iii)(F). View "PacifiCorp, Inc. v. Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a coal producer that reports the taxable value of its coal to the Department of Revenue using the proportionate profits valuation method, challenged two of the Departments determinations, arguing (1) the Department improperly applied Wyoming law when it set the point of valuation for its coal for production years 2009 through 2011; and (2) the Department improperly categorized certain government-imposed and environmental expenses in the tax valuation formula. The Board of Equalization upheld the Board’s determinations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Board correctly upheld the Department’s decision on the point of valuation; and (2) the Board’s decision on the categorization of the environmental and government-imposed expenses was not final, and the issue was not ripe for judicial review. View "Wyodak Resources Development Corp. v. Wyoming Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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In 2012, the Fremont County Assessor assessed the commercial land and improvements of Mountain Vista Retirement Residence at $1,327,908 and its personal property at $8,246. The Fremont County Board of Equalization, the State Board of Equalization, and the district court upheld the valuation. Mountain Vista appealed, arguing that it should be exempt from property tax because it is a charitable or benevolent association that uses its property for primarily non-commercial purposes. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mountain Vista is neither a charitable or benevolent association and that its property is primarily used for commercial purposes. View "Mountain Vista Ret. Residence v. Fremont County Assessor" on Justia Law

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The Wyoming Department of Revenue (Department) directed Appellants, on-line travel companies (OTCs), to collect and remit taxes on the total amounts they collected from customers booking hotel rooms in Wyoming. The State Board of Equalization (SBOE) upheld the order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the SBOE did not err in finding that the full amount paid by a customer to the OTCs for a reservation of a hotel room in Wyoming was taxable to the Department; (2) the Department’s imposition of sales tax on the full amount collected by the OTCs did not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution as applied to the OTCs; and (3) the imposition of the sales tax did not violate the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act.View "Travelocity.com LP v. Wyo. Dep’t of Revenue" on Justia Law

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This case concerned Merit Energy Company's 2006 natural gas severance and ad valorem tax liability for wells located in several counties. Merit was a take-in-kind interest owner, which is a party who elects to take a portion of the mineral produced rather than receive monetary remuneration for its share of the production. The State Board of Equalization (SBOE) determined that Merit failed to timely appeal several final Wyoming Department of Revenue (DOR) decisions regarding the amount of taxable gas it had received and dismissed Merit's appeal. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in affirming the SBOE's dismissal as untimely; and (2) even if the Court permitted Merit to appeal the notice of valuation change sent by the DOR, the doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded Merit from doing so. View "Merit Energy Co. v. Dep't of Revenue" on Justia Law