PETITIONER APPEARING PRO SE: ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT:
CHRISTINA L. WILLIAMS STEVE CARTER
Okemos, MI ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA
KAREN L. HSU
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
INDIANA TAX COURT
CHRISTINA L. WILLIAMS, )
v. ) Cause No. 49T10-0006-TA-79
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF )
STATE REVENUE, )
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION
OF THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
February 8, 2001
Christina L. Williams challenges the Indiana Department of State Revenues (Department) final determination
that she is not entitled to a refund of Indiana gross retail (sales)
tax that she paid when she purchased an automobile in Indiana. The
sole issue for this Courts consideration is whether pursuant to Ind. Code Ann.
Section 6-2.5-3-5 Williams is entitled to a refund of the gross retail tax
that she paid on the automobile that she purchased in Indiana. For
the reasons stated below, the Court finds for the Department.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On November 27, 1998, Williams, an Indiana resident, purchased an automobile in Indiana.
At the time of purchase, she paid $539.85 in Indiana gross retail
tax. Williams thereafter lost the original title to the automobile and requested
a duplicate from the dealer, Enterprise Rent-A-Car. In March of 1999, Williams
moved to Michigan. In May of 1999, she received a duplicate title
for the automobile, titled and registered the automobile in Michigan, and paid $719.82
in Michigan use tax. Williams never titled or registered her automobile with
the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
After titling her automobile in Michigan, Williams filed a claim for refund with
the Department claiming that she twice had to pay sales and use tax
on the vehicle: once in Indiana, and again in Michigan. (Petr Br.
at 3.) On March 31, 2000, the Department denied Williams claim.
On June 28, 2000, Williams filed a petition to set aside the Departments
final determination with this Court. On August 30, 2000, the Department filed
a motion to dismiss stating that Williams complaint failed to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted because Williams failed to provide legal authority
or argument to support her claim.
This Court held a hearing on
the motion on November 16, 2000. On that same day, Williams filed
a brief in support of granting summary judgment in her favor.
ANALYSIS AND OPINION
Standard of Review
This Court reviews the Department's final determinations de novo and is not bound
by either the evidence presented or the issues raised at the administrative level.
Ind. Code Ann. § 6-8.1-9-1(d) (West 2000); Hunt Corp. v. Department of State
Revenue, 709 N.E.2d 766, 768 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999). Summary judgment is
only appropriate where no genuine issues of material fact exist and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Ind. Trial
Rule 56(C); Snyder v. Indiana Dept of State Revenue, 723 N.E.2d 487,
488 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000), review denied. Cross motions for summary judgment
do not alter this standard. Hyatt Corp. v. Department of State Revenue,
695 N.E.2d 1051, 1053 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998), review denied.
The sole issue for this Courts consideration is whether pursuant to I.C. §
6-2.5-3-5 Williams is entitled to a refund of the gross retail tax that
she paid on the automobile that she purchased in Indiana. Although Williams
has provided this Court with exhibits as evidence, the Department has only provided
its brief in support of its motion. Neither party disputes the material
facts. Because there is no material issue of fact, this Court will
determine whether the Department is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
The gross retail tax at issue in this case is set forth in
Ind. Code Ann. § 6-2.5-2-1 as follows:
(a) An excise tax, known as the state gross retail tax, is imposed
on retail transactions made in Indiana.
(b) The person who acquires property in a retail transaction is liable for
the tax on the transaction and, except as otherwise provided in this chapter,
shall pay the tax to the retail merchant as a separate added amount
to the consideration in the transaction. The retail merchant shall collect the
tax as agent for the state.
The credit that Williams seeks is set forth in I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5 which
provides as follows:
(a) A person is entitled to a credit against the use tax imposed
on the use, storage, or consumption of a particular item of tangible personal
property equal to the amount, if any, of sales tax, purchase tax, or
use tax paid to another state, territory, or possession of the United States
for the acquisition of that property.
(b) The credit provided under subsection (a) does not apply to the use
tax imposed on the use, storage, or consumption of vehicles, watercraft, or aircraft
that are required to be titled, registered, or licensed by Indiana.
First, this Court will address whether Williams claim is within the ambit of
I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(a). The words of statutes are given their plain, ordinary,
and usual meaning unless the legislative intent reveals a contrary purpose. Maurer
v. Indiana Dept of State Revenue, 607 N.E.2d 985, 987 (Ind. Tax Ct.
1993). Here, Williams paid the gross retail tax on the purchase of
her automobile in Indiana. The plain language of I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(a) provides
that the credit is available against the use tax. See I.C. 6-2.5-3-2
(defining the use tax). The gross retail tax is not mentioned in
this statute. In fact, the gross retail tax is set forth in
chapter 2 while the use tax is set forth in chapter 3.
Therefore, this Court concludes that I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(a) is not applicable to Williams
as that statute provides only for credit against the payment of use tax.
See Maurer, 607 N.E.2d at 987.
Even assuming arguendo that I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(a) did apply to Williams, she does
not meet the requirements of I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(b). The credit in I.C.
§ 6-2.5-3-5(a) is not applicable when a vehicle is required to be titled,
registered or licensed by Indiana. I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(b). Indiana law states
that any person who purchases or otherwise acquires a new or used motor
vehicle . . . must apply for a certificate of title in the
purchasers or transferees name. Ind. Admin. Code tit. 140, r. 6-1-2 (1996).
See also Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Title Requirements § §
1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.16, at http:www.state.in.us/bmv/titles/titlereq.html (last visited Feb. 8, 2001) (providing that
Indiana residents must title their newly acquired vehicles no later than thirty-one days
from the date of purchase); Ind. Code Ann. § § 9-17-2-1 and
9-18-2-1 (requiring that within sixty days new residents must register and title all
vehicles owned by the resident that are subject to the motor vehicle excise
tax and that will be operated in Indiana). Clearly, Williams was required
by Indiana law to title her automobile in Indiana because she was an
Indiana resident when she purchased the automobile. Regardless of her reasons for
not doing so,
she did not title the automobile in Indiana as required
by law. As noted above, I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(b) provides that vehicles that
are required to be titled in Indiana are not entitled to a credit
pursuant to I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(a). Consequently, Williams is not entitled to a
credit pursuant to I.C. § 6-2.5-3-5(a) against the tax that she paid on
the purchase of her automobile in Indiana.
Pursuant to I.C. § 6-2.5-2-1, Williams was liable for the gross retail tax
that she paid on the purchase of her vehicle. Williams has not
provided this Court with nor can the Court find any authority demonstrating that
she is not liable for the gross retail tax. Therefore, the Department
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Consequently, this Court
AFFIRMS the final determination by the Department that Williams is not entitled to
a refund of the Indiana gross retail tax that she paid. For
the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS the Departments motion for summary judgment and
DENIES Williams cross motion for summary judgment.
The Department filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Ind. Trial Rule
12(B)(6). Along with Williams petition to set aside the Departments final determination
and her brief responding to the Departments motion, Williams filed exhibits. If
on a motion to dismiss for failure of the pleading to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, matters outside the pleading are presented
to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as
one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56.
Ind. Trial Rule 12(B) (emphasis added). Because this Court has not excluded
the exhibits, the motion at issue here will be treated as a motion
for summary judgment. See id.
The Court will treat Williamss motion as a cross-motion for summary
See Hunt Corp. v. Department of State Revenue, 709 N.E.2d 766, 767-68 n.5
(Ind. Tax Ct. 1999) (stating that under Trial Rule 56(B) a court may
grant summary judgment to the non-moving party).
Williams asserts that she did not title the automobile in Indiana
because she was unable to go to the BMV to title it due
to her demanding work schedule and because the BMV would not allow her
husband to title it. In addition, she asserts that she lost the
original title and was unable to procure a duplicate title through the dealer
where she purchased the automobile until after she had moved to Michigan in
May of 1999.