Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013
 

Sales And Use Tax Court Decisions


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Superior Court (barnesandnoble.com llc); State Board of Equalization v. . . . (2006)

Proper Venue for Sales and Use Tax Refund Litigation Is in County Where Attorney General Maintains a Legal Office

In this case, plaintiff barnesandnoble.com llc sued the Board for a tax refund in Santa Clara County Superior Court, contending that the online retailer was not a retailer engaged in business in this state and had insufficient nexus with the state, so that it had no duty to report and pay use tax arising from its sales into the state. In connection with tax refund litigation, Revenue and Taxation Code section 6933 provides in relevant part that "the claimant may bring an action against the board on the grounds set forth in the claim in a court of competent jurisdiction in any city or city and county of this state in which the Attorney General has an office for the recovery of" any refund. In a motion to transfer venue, the Board contended that because the Attorney General did not maintain a legal office in Santa Clara County, venue was improper there and the case must be transferred. Plaintiff contended that because the Department of Justice, under the Attorney General's direction, maintains an office of the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement in San Jose (Santa Clara County), the Attorney General's presence there supports venue pursuant to section 6933.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the Board, stating, "In considering the type of office that was intended by the Legislature, we observe that section 6933 contemplates tax litigation, not enforcement of California's drug laws. There simply could be no rational purpose for the Legislature to establish the place of trial in a tax refund action in a city or city and county where a branch office of the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement is located." State Board of Equalization v. Superior Court (barnesandnoble.com llc) (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 951.