Brockway Glass Co., Inc., Glassware Div. v. Caryl

Decision Date18 May 1990
Docket NumberNo. 18995,18995
Citation394 S.E.2d 524,183 W.Va. 122
CourtWest Virginia Supreme Court
PartiesBROCKWAY GLASS COMPANY, INC., GLASSWARE DIVISION, a Corporation v. Michael E. CARYL, as State Tax Commissioner of West Virginia, Successor to Herschel H. Rose, III, Former State Tax Commissioner of West Virginia.

Syllabus by the Court

Under W.Va.Code, 11-13C-5 [1969], a taxpayer who sells qualified investment property is entitled to the former business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion for the year of sale, and the successor who continues to operate the business is entitled only to the remaining amount of the available credit for each year subsequent to the year of sale.

Roger W. Tompkins, Atty. Gen., John E. Shank, Deputy Atty. Gen., Charleston, for Michael E. Caryl, Comm'r.

Lisa Stout Rogers, Highland, McNeer & McMunn, Clarksburg, for Brockway Glass Co.

McHUGH, Justice:

This tax case is before this Court upon an appeal by the State Tax Department (now the State Department of Tax and Revenue) from a final order of the Circuit Court of Harrison County, West Virginia. The case involves the former business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion, W.Va.Code, 11-13C-1 to 11-13C-5, as effective prior to repeal thereof in 1985. 1 The issue is one of first impression in this jurisdiction and is whether such credit is to be prorated on a daily basis between the seller and the buyer for the year of sale of the qualified investment property, as opposed to the seller getting the entire credit for the year of sale. Agreeing with the circuit court that the seller is to get the entire credit for the year of sale, we affirm.

I

Brockway Glass Company, Inc., through its Glassware Division ("the taxpayer"), operated a glass manufacturing plant in Clarksburg, West Virginia, until May 3, 1979, when it sold its operations to Anchor Hocking Corp. The latter continued the glass manufacturing operations throughout the remainder of the year 1979 and beyond.

The State Tax Department issued a business and occupation tax assessment against the taxpayer for the period of January 1, 1976 through May 3, 1979. The part of the assessment which is relevant in this appeal involved the business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion for the year 1979. The taxpayer had claimed industrial expansion credit for the entire year of 1979. 2 The State Tax Department disallowed the credit for the portion of the year after the taxpayer sold the business. The amount in controversy (exclusive of interest) is $14,921.59.

On appeal by the taxpayer the Circuit Court of Harrison County ruled in favor of the taxpayer and restored the credit for the full year, limited to fifty percent of the gross amount of business and occupation tax due before calculation of the credit.

II

The State Tax Department argues before us that the business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion should be prorated on a daily basis between the seller and the buyer for the year of sale of the qualified investment property. The taxpayer, on the other hand, argues that, as between the seller and the buyer, the seller is entitled to the entire credit for the year of sale, while the buyer is entitled to the remaining amount of the available credit for subsequent years only. We agree with the taxpayer.

Under W.Va.Code, 11-13C-3(a) [1978], the amount of the business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion is ten percent of the cost of qualified investment property, and such credit is to be applied over a ten-year period at the rate of one-tenth of the amount of such credit per taxable year. Under W.Va.Code, 11-13C-5 [1969], a taxpayer forfeits the unused portion of the industrial expansion credit for the taxable year in which the qualified investment property is disposed of and for all ensuing taxable years. However, under that section, property shall not be treated as disposed of by reason of a mere change in the form of conducting the business, so long as the property is retained in such business, the taxpayer or the successor retains a substantial interest therein and the taxpayer or the successor continues to qualify as an industrial taxpayer.

W.Va.Code, 11-13C-5 [1969] and its implementing regulations are silent as to whether the seller and the buyer are to share the industrial expansion credit for the year of sale, where there has been a mere change in the form of conducting the business. Similar business and occupation tax credits for industrial revitalization and for coal loading facilities explicitly provide for the successor business to be entitled only to the remaining amount of the available credit for each year subsequent to the year of sale. See W.Va.Code, 11-13D-7(b) [1985] and W.Va.Code, 11-13E-6(b) [1985]. See also W.Va.Code, 11-13C-9(b) [1985] (same rule for business investment and jobs expansion credit against various taxes, including business and occupation tax). This approach--a taxpayer gets the full credit for the year of sale and the successor gets the remaining amount of the available credit for each subsequent year--encourages the successor to stay in business during at least the year subsequent to the year of sale to be entitled to any of the credit. On the other hand, the State Tax Department's approach--proration of the credit for the year of sale between the seller (taxpayer) and the buyer (successor)--does not encourage the successor to stay in business the next year to obtain any of the credit. Consequently, the purpose of the industrial expansion credit statute, stated in W.Va.Code, 11-13C-1 [1969], specifically, encouraging the location of new industry and the expansion of existing industry within this state, thereby increasing employment, is promoted for a longer period of time by the nonproration approach urged by the taxpayer.

While not involving the precise issue involved in this case, the opinion of the Court in Andy Bros. Tire Co. v. West Virginia State Tax Commissioner, 160 W.Va. 144, 233 S.E.2d 134 (1977), refers to the fact that the statute on the business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion, specifically, W.Va.Code, 11-13C-3(a) [1978], explicitly provides for proration of the credit over ten years at the rate of one-tenth per year. While that proration is not in the context of a sale, it is the only proration over a period of time mentioned in the industrial expansion credit statute. Therefore, because the statute calls generally for an annual proration of the credit, without mentioning a daily proration in a given year, we believe the State Tax Department's interpretation in this case requiring a daily proration between the seller and the buyer for the year of sale is precluded by the rule of statutory construction known as expressio unius est exclusio alterius (the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of other things not expressed). See, e.g., Dotts v. Taressa J.A., 182 W.Va. 586, 591, 390 S.E.2d 568, 573 (1990); Concerned Loved Ones & Lot Owners Association v. Pence, 181 W.Va. 649, 653, 383 S.E.2d 831, 835 (1989); Committee on Legal Ethics v. Roark, 181 W.Va. 260, 263, 382 S.E.2d 313, 316 (1989); McGlone v. Superior Trucking Co., 178 W.Va. 659, 663, 363 S.E.2d 736, 740 (1987); syl. pt. 3, Manchin v. Dunfee, 174 W.Va. 532, 327 S.E.2d 710 (1984); Douglass v. Koontz, 137 W.Va. 345, 361, 71 S.E.2d 319, 328 (1952) (business and occupation tax case). 3

Andy Bros. Tire concludes that the industrial expansion credit against the business and occupation tax, as a species of socioeconomic legislation, is to be liberally construed in favor of the taxpayer. 160 W.Va. at 147, 233 S.E.2d at 136. For this reason this case is materially distinguishable from Pennsylvania & West Virginia Supply Corp. v. Rose, 179 W.Va. 317, 368 S.E.2d 101 (1988). That case involved a use tax exemption for purchases used in a retail sales business. The exemption did not apply to purchases used in a wholesale sales business. The statute was silent as to whether a taxpayer, like the taxpayer in that case, who engaged in both retail and wholesale sales businesses was required to apportion the use tax exemption, based upon the percentage of total sales attributable to retail transactions. In syllabus point 6 this Court held that such apportionment was required. We applied the rule of statutory construction that an exemption statute is construed strictly against the taxpayer. Syl. pt. 5. In the present case, however, a tax credit, not a tax exemption, statute is involved, and Andy Bros. Tire is authority for liberally construing tax credit legislation in favor of the taxpayer.

In addition, the legislature has prevented a "windfall" to the seller of qualified investment property for the "short" year of sale. W.Va.Code, 11-13C-3(b) [1978] limits the amount of business and occupation tax credit for industrial expansion to fifty percent of the business and occupation tax due in the absence of such credit and before application of the annual exemption. The amount of business...

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    ...of one thing implies exclusion of all others) is a well-accepted canon of statutory construction. Brockway Glass Co. Inc., Glassware Div. v. Caryl, 183 W.Va. 122, 394 S.E.2d 524 (1990); Dotts v. Taressa J.A., 182 W.Va. 586, 591, 390 S.E.2d 568, 573 (1990); McGlone v. Superior Trucking Co., ......
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