Issue preclusion exception carved out for tax cases

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Shepard, Chief Justice

The Tax Court ruled in an earlier case addressing the share of Miller Brewing Company’s income that is taxable by Indiana. In this case the Tax Court held that its previous ruling did not bar the Department of Revenue from raising new contentions in support of a different method of allocation of income to the state.

Conclusion (slip op. at 11):  The Tax Court’s denial of Miller’s motion for summary judgment is affirmed.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 10):  Ordinarily a new argument is insufficient to reopen an issue of law already determined as between two parties. We think, however, that in tax cases that principle should be relaxed. If failure to raise an omitted argument can forever preclude the Department from relitigating a legal issue, the state is in effect barred by the omission of its agents who generally do not bind the government by a mistake of law.

Dickson, Sullivan, Boehm, and Rucker, JJ., concur.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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