ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
LARRY J. STROBLE STEVE CARTER
JENNIFER A. DUNFEE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
BARNES & THORNBURG Indianapolis, IN
MICHAEL C. DART
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
INDIANA TAX COURT
QUAKER OATS COMPANY, )
v. ) Cause No. 49T10-0105-TA-34
DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL )
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION
OF THE STATE BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS
February 7, 2003
The Petitioner, Quaker Oats Company (Quaker Oats), appeals the final determination of the
State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) denying it an Interstate Commerce Exemption
on its personal property for the 1999 tax year. The Court restates
the issue as whether Quaker Oats timely filed its Form 103 Business Tangible
Personal Property Assessment Return (Form 103), thereby entitling it to an Interstate Commerce
For the reasons stated below, the Court REVERSES this case and REMANDS it
to the Indiana Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board).
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Quaker Oats is a New Jersey corporation with its principal place of business
in Chicago, Illinois. For the 1999 tax year, Quaker Oats owned personal
property (inventory) that was stored in a warehouse in Wayne Township, Marion County,
On April 27, 1999, Quaker Oats filed a request with the Wayne Township
Assessor (Assessor) for an extension of time to file its Form 103, which
was due on May 15, 1999. The Assessor granted Quaker Oats a
30-day extension and stamped Quaker Oats request letter with the following statement:
EXTENSION GRANTED UNTIL JUN[E] 14 1999 WAYNE TOWNSHIP ASSESSOR. (Admin. R. at
114.) Quaker Oats mailed, and the Assessor received its Form 103 on
June 15, 1999. Attached to the Form 103 was a Form 103-W
in which Quaker Oats claimed an Interstate Commerce Exemption for its inventory.
On June 19, 1999, the Assessor sent Quaker Oats a notice denying the
Interstate Commerce Exemption because of an untimely filed Form 103.
Quaker Oats appealed to the Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals
(PTABOA), and the PTABOA affirmed the assessment. Quaker Oats subsequently appealed to
the State Board, arguing that it timely filed its Form 103 and that
it was entitled to an Interstate Commerce Exemption. The State Board held
a hearing and issued its final determination on March 21, 2001, affirming the
PTABOAs determination. The State Board found that Quaker Oats had filed its
Form 103 one day late and had therefore waived the Interstate Commerce Exemption.
On May 4, 2001, Quaker Oats initiated an original tax appeal. In
lieu of a trial, the parties agreed to argue this case based on
the administrative record presented to the State Board. This Court heard oral
arguments on October 25, 2002. Additional facts will be supplied as needed.
ANALYSIS AND OPINION
Standard of Review
The Court gives great deference to the State Boards final determinations when it
acts within the scope of its authority. Wetzel Enters., Inc. v. State
Bd. of Tax Commrs, 694 N.E.2d 1259, 1261 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998).
Accordingly, this Court reverses final determinations of the State Board only when those
decisions are unsupported by substantial evidence, are arbitrary or capricious, constitute an abuse
of discretion, or exceed statutory authority. Id. The taxpayer bears the
burden of demonstrating the invalidity of the State Boards final determination.
v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 694 N.E.2d 1230, 1233 (Ind. Tax Ct.
1998). The taxpayer must present a prima facie case, i.e., a case
in which the evidence is sufficient to establish a given fact and which
if not contradicted will remain sufficient. GTE North Inc. v. State
Bd. of Tax Commrs, 634 N.E.2d 882, 887 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1994) (citations
and internal quotation marks omitted). To establish a prima facie case, the
taxpayer must offer probative evidence concerning the alleged error. Damon Corp. v.
State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 738 N.E.2d 1102, 1106 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000).
The issue is whether Quaker Oats timely filed its Form 103, thereby entitling
it to the Interstate Commerce Exemption.
The State Board contends that Quaker
Oats is not entitled to the exemption because it filed its Form 103
one day late.
Quaker Oats, which was granted a 30-day extension to
file its Form 103, argues that its Form 103 was timely because it
was filed before the expiration of that 30-day extension period. Quaker Oats
The normal filing date for a Form 103 personal property return is May
15. Ind. Code §§ 6-1.1-1-7, 6-1.1-3-7(a). However, the actual filing date
of the return may be modified. Indeed, Indiana Code § 6-1.1-37-10 states
If any due date falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, a national legal
holiday recognized by the federal government, or a statewide holiday, the act that
must be performed by that date is timely if performed by the next
succeeding day that is not a Saturday, a Sunday, or one (1) of
Ind. Code § 6-1.1-37-10(b). Moreover, Indiana Code § 6-1.1-3-7 provides:
The township assessor may grant a taxpayer a thirty (30) day extension
to file the taxpayers return if:
the taxpayers submits a written application for an extension
prior to the filing date; and
the taxpayer is prevented from filing a timely return because of
sickness, absence from the county, or any other good and
Ind. Code § 6-1.1-3-7(b) (West 2000).
Thus, the filing date of a
Form 103 may be modified if it falls on a weekend or holiday
or if an extension to file the return is granted. See I.C.
§§ 6-1.1-3-7(b), 6-1.1-37-10(b). CONCLUSION
During the tax year at issue, May 15 fell on a Saturday.
Thus, Quaker Oats 1999 personal property return was not due until Monday, May
17. See Ind. Code § 6-1.1-37-10(b). See also Kaster v. Heinrich,
489 N.E.2d 152, 155-56 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986) (discussing the modification of a
filing date by weekends and holidays under Indiana Trial Rule 6(A)). However,
Quaker Oats, pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.1-3-7(b), requested an extension of 30
days to file its Form 103. The Assessor granted Quaker Oats the
30-day extension, thereby extending the due date of the return to June 16,
1999 (i.e. 30 days from the May 17 due date). See Ind.
Code § 6-1.1-3-7(b).
Quaker Oats filed its Form 103 with the Assessor
on June 15, 1999. Therefore, Quaker Oats timely filed its Form 103
and is entitled to the Interstate Commerce Exemption.
While the State Board agrees that Quaker Oats had a 30-day extension, it
disputes that the extended filing date was June 16, 1999. The State
Board argues that Quaker Oats only had until June 14 to file its
Form 103 because the Assessor stamped that date on Quaker Oats extension request.
The State Board further contends that that the 30-day extension is always
counted from May 15 even if May 15 falls on a weekend.
Thus, it contends that a 30-day extension would always be granted only until
To support is contentions, the State Board relies on its regulations, which state
that [a] thirty (30) day extension (to June 14) may be granted provided
an extension is requested in writing prior to May 15 of the current
year. Ind. Admin. Code tit. 50, r. 4.2-2-3 (1996). However, the
statute regarding an extension of time to file the Form 103 does not
state that the 30-day extension always extends the filing date to June 14.
See I.C. § 6-1.1-3-7(b). If the filing date of the Form
103 falls on a weekend or holiday, an extension to June 14 would
be less than 30 days. The statute during the tax year at
issue, however, stated that a taxpayer would receive a 30-day extension no
more, no less. See id. The State Board may not by
its rules and regulations add to or detract from the law as enacted[.]
Johnson County Farm Bureau Co-op. Assn, Inc. v. Indiana Dept of State
Revenue, 568 N.E.2d 578, 587 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1991) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted), affd by 585 N.E.2d 1336 (Ind. 1992). Accordingly, to the
extent that the State Boards regulation requires that all 30-day extensions for personal
property returns always be granted only until June 14 even during those years
where the filing date falls on a weekend or holiday, the regulation is
invalid. See id. See also Kaster, 489 N.E.2d at 155-56 (finding
that motion filed two days after date stamped on court order was not
late because filing date on order was extended by weekend and holiday).
Accordingly, this Court REVERSES the State Boards final determination.
For the aforementioned reasons, the State Boards final determination is REVERSED and this
case is REMANDED to the Indiana Board with instructions to grant the Interstate
Commerce Exemption to Quaker Oats.
The State Board of Tax Commissioners (State Board) was originally the
Respondent in this appeal. However, as of December 31, 2001, the legislature
abolished the State Board. P.L. 198-2001, § 119(b)(2). Effective January 1,
2002, the legislature created the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF),
§ 6-1.1-30-1.1 (West Supp. 2001)(eff. 1-1-02); P.L. 198-2001, § 66, and the Indiana
Board of Tax Review (Indiana Board). Ind. Code § 6-1.5-1-3 (West Supp.
2001)(eff. 1-1-02); P.L. 198-2001, § 95. Pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.5-5-8,
the DLGF is substituted for the State Board in appeals from final determinations
of the State Board that were issued before January 1, 2002. Ind.
Code § 6-1.5-5-8 (West Supp. 2001)(eff. 1-1-02); P.L. 198-2001, § 95. Moreover,
the law in effect prior to January 1, 2002 applies to these appeals.
Ind. Code § 6-1.5-5-8 (West Supp. 2001)(eff. 1-1-02); P.L. 198-2001, §§ 95,
117. Although the DLGF has been substituted as the Respondent, this Court
will still reference the State Board throughout this opinion.
In the alternative, Quaker Oats argues that even if its
Form 103 is found to be untimely filed, an untimely Form 103 does
not waive the Interstate Commerce Exemption. Because this Court finds that Quaker
Oats timely filed its Form 103 and is entitled to an Interstate Commerce
see infra, it need not address this alternative argument.
All cases that would have previously been remanded to the State Board
are now remanded to the Indiana Board of Tax Review.
§ 6-1.1-15-8. Final determinations made by the Indiana Board are subject to
review by this Court pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15. Ind. Code
§§ 6-1.5-5-7; 33-3-5-2 (West Supp. 2002).
an interstate commerce exemption, like any other tax exemption,
is strictly construed against the taxpayer and in favor of taxation, the taxpayer
bears the burden of proving that it is entitled to the exemption.
Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 681 N.E.2d 800,
801 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1997), review denied.
The parties do not dispute that Quaker Oats would be
entitled to the exemption if the Form 103 is found to be timely
Footnote: The State Board also suggests that Quaker Oats has waived any
argument that its Form 103 was timely filed. (Respt Br. at 3
n.4, 5-6.) However, Quaker Oats included the argument in its amended 131
Petition to the State Board and argued the issue during the administrative hearing.
Thus, the argument is properly before this Court.
See Boehning v.
State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 763 N.E.2d 502, 504 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001)
(finding that taxpayer may only present evidence to this Court that he or
she originally presented at administrative level).
In 2001, Indiana Code §
6-1.1-3-7(b) was amended to allow
a township assessor discretion in the amount of time that it granted a
taxpayer an extension to file his personal property return. See Ind. Code
§ 6-1.1-3-7(b) (West Supp. 2002) (stating that [t]he township assessor may grant a
taxpayer an extension of not more than thirty (30) days to file the
This finding is also consistent with the Indiana Department of Revenues
computation of time for an extension when a filing date falls on a
weekend. When the normal filing date for an income tax return (April
15) falls on a Saturday, the filing date then becomes Monday April 17
and a 60-day automatic extension request results in an extended filing date of
June 16. (
See Admin R. at 57.) See also Indiana Sugars
v. State Bd. of Tax Commrs, 683 N.E.2d 1383, 1385-86 (Ind. Tax Ct.
1997) (finding that practices of the Indiana Department of Revenue to be persuasive
in resolving issues involving the State Board).