Crystal Communications, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Tax Law
  • Date Filed: 03-07-2013
  • Case #: S059271
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J. for the Court; En Banc

The gain attributed to a public utilities' sale of assets in a liquidation may reasonably be determined by the Department of Revenue as apportionable "business income" consistent with the term's statutory definition found in ORS 314.610(1).

Crystal appealed the Tax Court’s summary judgment in favor of the Department of Revenue (Department). In 1999, Crystal sold is assets and ceased operations. Crystal then filed an Oregon excise tax return in 2000 where it classified the gain on that sale as “nonbusiness income.” The Tax Court subsequently upheld the reclassification and summary judgment. In auditing that return, the Department reclassified the gain as “business income,” which may be apportionable to the states. Crystal argued that rule OAR 150-314.280-(B), which the Department relied on to determine the gain as “business income,” contained conflicting definitions of “business income,” one of which was found in ORS 314.610(1) and the other in OAR 314.610(1)-(B)(2). The basis for Crystal’s claim was that the two definitions were in conflict with each other because the adopted rule was broader in its application than the statutory definition. The Court held that the department’s implementation of OAR 150-314.280-(B) was reasonable with the limitations of ORS 314.610(1) and OAR 314.610(1)-(B)(2). Affirmed.

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