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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court rules again in Garwood jeopardy tax assessments case

In Garwood v. Ind. Dept. Revenue, an 11-page opinion, Sr. Judge Fisher writes:

Virginia Garwood has filed her second appeal with this Court. The Indiana Department of State Revenue has moved to dismiss her appeal, claiming that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and that the same action is pending in the Harrison Circuit Court. The Court, finding the subject matter jurisdiction issue dispositive, denies the Department’s Motion to Dismiss.[1]
* * *

On August 19, 2011, this Court affirmed its holding in Garwood I and determined that the jeopardy assessments were void as a matter of law because they were not issued in accordance with Indiana Code § 6-8.1-5-3.3 See Garwood v. Indiana Dep’t of State Revenue, 953 N.E.2d 682, 683 n.3, 687-90 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2011) (Garwood II), review denied. Nonetheless, the Court noted that the Department could still pursue other tax collection methods with respect to Garwood’s purported tax liability. * * *

On August 29, 2011, Garwood filed a one-page written document with the Department requesting a refund of $122,684.50. * * *

On August 27, 2012, Garwood filed her second appeal with this Court, claiming that the Department has failed to rule on the claim that she filed with the Department on August 29, 2011. On June 13, 2013, the Department filed a Motion to Dismiss, which this order addresses. The Court held a hearing on September 26, 2013. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary. * * *

Subject matter jurisdiction, the power of a court to hear and determine a particular class of cases, can only be conferred upon a court by the Indiana Constitution or by statute. See K.S. v. State, 849 N.E.2d 538, 540 (Ind. 2006); State v. Sproles, 672 N.E.2d 1353, 1356 (Ind. 1996). The Tax Court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over “original tax appeals” and its territorial jurisdiction spans the entire state. IND. CODE §§ 33-26-3-1, -3 (2013); Ind. Tax Court Rule 13.

A case is an original tax appeal if it: 1) “arises under the tax laws of Indiana” and 2) “is an initial appeal of a final determination” made by the Department. I.C. § 33-26-3-1. * * *

The Court, having found that Garwood’s case satisfies the jurisdictional prerequisites of Indiana Code § 33-26-3-1, DENIES the Department’s Motion to Dismiss in its entirety. Accordingly, the Court now LIFTS the stay granted on August 2, 2013.
[1] The Department has designated certain evidence as confidential; therefore, the Court’s order will provide only that information necessary for the reader to understand its disposition of the issues presented. See generally Ind. Administrative Rule 9.

[ILB: It is an incidental point, but the ILB is interested in knowing how the Dept. of Revenue can, without more, simply "designate certain evidence as confidential" under Rule 9.]

For more on the earlier Garwood case, start with this June 4, 2012 ILB entry.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 31, 2013 05:15 PM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions