867 P.2d 869 (Ariz.Tax 1994), TX 93-00237, United States Xpress, Inc. v. Arizona Dept. of Transp.

Docket Nº:TX 93-00237.
Citation:867 P.2d 869, 177 Ariz. 299
Party Name:U.S. XPRESS, INC.; Southwest Motor Freight, Inc. v. ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, et al.
Case Date:January 14, 1994
Court:Tax Court of Arizona
 
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867 P.2d 869 (Ariz.Tax 1994)

177 Ariz. 299

U.S. XPRESS, INC.; Southwest Motor Freight, Inc.

v.

ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, et al.

No. TX 93-00237.

Tax Court of Arizona.

January 14, 1994

       Lalliss, Trompeter, Tanner & Hulse, P.C. by Jack B. Schiffman, Phoenix, for plaintiff.

       Atty. Gen. by J.W. Ranby, Phoenix, for defendant.

       OPINION

       SCHAFER, Judge.

       The issue the parties raised in this case is whether a mandatory late filing penalty may be waived if the taxpayer shows that he made reasonable efforts to meet the deadline, but missed it by inadvertent error. The Court, however, disposes of the case on a different point.

       U.S. Xpress, Inc. and Southwest Motor Freight, Inc. are motor carriers required to file Motor Carrier Tax Reports (tax reports) in Arizona. The tax reports were due on January 25, 1992. Both companies hired Advantage Financial Group (Advantage) in Columbia, Missouri, to file several required motor carrier documents, including the tax reports required by Arizona.

       Both U.S. Xpress and Southwest Freight timely prepared the tax reports and sent

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[177 Ariz. 300] them, with checks drawn in the appropriate amount, to Advantage. Advantage received the completed tax reports on January 24, 1992, but it set them aside, believing they were to be mailed with other documents due on January 31, 1992. The tax reports were not forwarded to the Arizona Department of Transportation (the Department) until January 31, 1992, six days after the due date. The Department imposed a late filing penalty on each plaintiff.

       Both plaintiffs administratively appealed the assessment of the late fees and penalties. An administrative hearing was held June 23, 1992, before the Motor Vehicle Division hearing officer. On October 14, 1992, the hearing officer denied relief to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs requested a rehearing which was denied on October 28, 1992.

       U.S. Xpress and Southwest Motor Freight appealed to the Tax Court on June 2, 1993, over seven months after the administrative decision was final. On June 22, 1993, the Department filed a Motion to Dismiss. The Department argued that the complaint filed in the Tax Court did not state a claim for which relief could be given. In response, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that an "inadvertent error" caused the late filing and, as a matter of law, the mandatory...

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