Thursday, April 5, 2007

Comptroller of the Treasury v. Clise Coal Co., Inc. (Ct. of Special Appeals)

Filed April 5, 2007--Opinion by Judge James R. Eyler.

Clise, pursuant to Tax. Gen. 9-318, obtained a license to buy diesel fuel without paying motor fuel tax at the time of sale. Clise was required to maintain records of fuel purchased and used in Maryland and, further, was required to file monthly returns with the Comptroller's office reporting the amount of fuel used in Maryland and pay tax on the fuel used.

If a taxpayer fails to keep records required under Tax. Gen. 9-309, the Comptroller may compute the motor fuel tax by using the best information in its possession. A taxpayer may appeal to the Maryland Tax Court. The assessment is prima facie correct, and the burden is on the taxpayer to show error.

In Tax Court, after proving its assessment, the Comptroller had no duty to present evidence in support of its assessment. The burden was on Clise to show error. The question on judicial review is whether there was substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the Tax Court's decision.

Held: Judgment of the Tax Court affirmed.

(synopsis to follow)

The full opinion is available in PDF.

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