Matter of Meredith Corp. v. Tax Appeals Tribunal

APPELLATE DIVISION
THIRD DEPARTMENT
Taxation

New York Law Journal

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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 property—which could be included in the property factor— or intangible property—which cannot be included. Taxation Division informed Meredith, a publishing and broadcasting company, that programming delivered on videotape was tangible, but that satellite transmission—which Meredith primarily used at that time—was 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.

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