Matter of Meredith Corp. v. Tax Appeals Tribunal
Justice John Lahtinen
This Article 78 proceeding sought to review the decision of Tax Appeals Tribunal which denied Meredith Corp.'s request for a refund of corporate franchise tax imposed under Tax Law Article 9-A. The main issue was if certain of Meredith's property was tangible personal propertywhich could be included in the property factor or intangible propertywhich cannot be included. Taxation Division informed Meredith, a publishing and broadcasting company, that programming delivered on videotape was tangible, but that satellite transmissionwhich Meredith primarily used at that timewas not tangible personal property. The Tribunal affirmed an Administrative law Judge's decision, sustaining denial of Meredith's refund claims. The court found that retroactively applying a changed interpretation on which a taxpayer relied, as here, was arbitrary. Further, it noted the Tribunal's distinction between videotape and satellite was arbitrary, noting a distinction with no relevance or relation to the purpose of the statute is irrational." Thus, as programming on videotape was considered tangible property, and the distinction between satellite was indistinguishable, the Tribunal's decision that Meredith's programming was not tangible property was annulled.