§ 3.7.2.6.1.3 Tax Court.

JurisdictionArizona

§ 3.7.2.6.1.3 Tax Court. Appellate review of a tax court’s grant of summary judgment is de novo. See Home Depot U.S.A. v. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue, 233 Ariz. 449, 452, ¶ 12, 314 P.3d 576, 579 (App. 2013) (grant of summary judgment and interpretation of statutes); Microchip Tech., Inc. v. State, 230 Ariz. 303, 305, ¶ 6, 283 P.3d 34, 36 (App. 2012); Virgin Mobile USA v. Ariz. Dep’t of Rev., 230 Ariz. 261, 263, ¶ 7, 282 P.3d 1281, 1283 (App. 2012). The de novo review standard applies when reviewing the tax court’s legal, statutory and jurisdictional rulings. See Sempre Ltd. P’ship, 225 Ariz. 106, 108, ¶ 5, 235 P.3d 259, 261 (App. 2010). It is incorrect for the tax court to direct entry of summary judgment on issues not raised by the movant in the trial court and on which the parties therefore have not had an opportunity to marshal and present evidence. See CNL Hotels & Resorts v. Maricopa Cty., 230 Ariz. 21, 25, ¶ 19, 279 P.3d 1183, 1187 (2012).

The court of appeals determines de novo whether any genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment and whether the tax court erred in applying the law. See S. Pac. Transp. Co. v. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue, 202 Ariz. 326, 329-30, ¶ 7, 44 P.3d 1006, 1009-10 (App. 2002); Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue v. Blue Line Distrib., Inc., 202 Ariz. 266, 266, ¶ 4, 43 P.3d 214, 214 (App. 2002). In doing so, the appellate court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the taxpayers as the nonprevailing parties. See Citadel Care Ctr. v. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue, 200 Ariz. 286, 288, ¶ 7, 25 P.3d 1158, 1160 (App. 2001). It also reviews de novo a tax court’s decision to deny a motion for sanctions and attorneys’ fees under A.R.S. § 12-349, which governs sanctions for unjustified action. See Hormel v. Maricopa Cty., 224 Ariz. 454, 461, ¶ 27, 232 P.3d 768, 775 (App. 2010).

When the material facts underpinning a summary judgment in a tax dispute are undisputed, the appellate court must determine whether the tax court correctly applied the substantive law to those facts. The appellate court reviews issues of law de novo and is not bound either by the tax court’s conclusions of law or by its findings combining both fact and law. See Qwest Dex, Inc. v. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue, 210 Ariz. 223, 225, ¶ 8, 109 P.3d 118, 120 (App. 2005). In the absence of a material issue of fact, the tax court’s ruling on the law on summary judgment does not bind the appellate court. See Wilderness World, Inc. v. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue, 182 Ariz. 196, 198, ...

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