Pasulka v. Commissioner of Revenue, 8508-R

CourtTax Court of Minnesota
PartiesAleksandra A. PASULKA and Matthew P. Pasulka, Appellants, v. COMMISSIONER OF REVENUE, Appellee.
Docket Number8508-R
Decision Date28 August 2013

Aleksandra A. PASULKA and Matthew P. Pasulka, Appellants,


No. 8508-R

Tax Court of Minnesota, Regular Division, Hennepin County

August 28, 2013

This matter came before the Honorable Bradford S. Delapena, Chief Judge of the Minnesota Tax Court, on the Commissioner of Revenue’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction for failure to file an appeal within the time limitation contained in Minnesota Statute section 271.06, subdivision 2 (2012).

Marcia HenryCzopek, Attorney at Law, represented appellants Aleksandra A. Pasulka and Matthew P. Pasulka.

Mark B. Levinger, Assistant Minnesota Attorney General, represented appellee Commissioner of Revenue.



Upon all of the files, records and proceedings herein, the court now makes the following:


The Commissioner of Revenue's motion to dismiss is granted.



Historical and Procedural Facts

On June 26, 2012, the Commissioner filed an order assessing appellants for unpaid Minnesota individual income tax for tax years 2008 through 2010.[1] On August 3, 2012, this court granted appellants a 30-day extension of time within which to appeal the Commissioner's order.[2] See Minn.Stat. § 271.06, subd. 2 (2012) (authorizing extension). Appellants mailed their Notice of Appeal to the court from Illinois at 11:50 p.m. on September 24, 2012.[3] The court actually received and filed appellants' submission on October 1, 2012.[4]

The Commissioner has filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction alleging that appellants failed to file their Notice of Appeal within the time limitation contained in Minnesota Statutes section 271.06, subdivision 2, governing appeals of orders of the Commissioner.[5]

Controlling Jurisdictional Principles

A court's subject matter jurisdiction “may not be conferred on the court by the agreement of the parties nor by their waiver of the right to object.” Marzitelli v. City of Little Canada, 582 N.W .2d 904, 907 & n.20 (Minn.1998) (quoting 1 Minnesota Practice, D. Herr and R. Haydock, Civil Rules Annotated § 12.16 (3d ed.1998)). A court has the power to determine its own jurisdiction. See, e.g., Reid v. Indep. Union of All Workers, 200 Minn. 599, 601-02, 275 N.W. 300, 301 (1937). See also Langer v. Comm'r of Revenue, 773 N.W.2d 77, 80 (Minn.2009) (noting court's duty to evaluate its own subject matter jurisdiction). On proper motion, it also has the duty to do so: “Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.” Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08(c). See also Williams v. Smith, 820 N.W.2d 807 (Minn.2012), reh'g denied (Oct. 2, 2012) (stating that “[w]ithout subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the claim.”); Langer, 773 N.W.2d at 80 (“[A] court has duty to dismiss a claim when the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim.”) (citing Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08(c)).

The Legislature created the Tax Court as an administrative agency of the executive branch and granted it limited jurisdiction. See Wilson v. Comm'r of Revenue, 619 N.W.2d 194, 199 (Minn.2000) (citing Minn.Stat. § 271.01, subd. 1 (2000)). “The jurisdiction of the Tax Court is determined by statute.” A.M. Castle & Co. v. County of Ramsey, No. C8-01-2797, 2001 WL 660862, at *1 (Minn. T.C. June 7, 2001); see also Giersdorf v. A & M Const., Inc., 820 N.W.2d 16, 20 (Minn.2012) (“The scope of an administrative agency's authority, including the jurisdiction of executive branch courts, generally depends upon the language of the statute delegating authority to the agency.”). Our court “does not have the power to ignore the statutes that give it jurisdiction.” Rahr Malting Co. v. County of Scott, Nos. 99-03807, 00-01171, 2001 WL 1539858, at *3 (Minn. T.C. Nov. 15, 2001)

Jurisdictional Analysis

The jurisdictional issue in this case arises from the Commissioner's assertion that appellants failed to timely file their Notice of Appeal. The right to appeal an order of the Commissioner is set forth in Minnesota Statutes section 271.06, which provides, in pertinent part:

Except as otherwise provided by law, within 60 days after notice of the making and filing of an order of the commissioner of revenue, the appellant ... shall serve a notice of appeal upon the commissioner and file the original ... with the Tax Court administrator ...; provided, that the Tax Court, for cause shown, may by written order extend the time for appealing for an additional period not exceeding 30 days
Minn.Stat. § 271.06, subd. 2 (2012). To perfect an appeal under this provision, a taxpayer must “file with the tax court the original notice of appeal ... within the time, including any extension, for filing the appeal.” Langer, 773 N.W.2d at 80

This court has long held that the term “filing” requires actual receipt by our court within the specified period. See, e.g., Montagne v. Comm'r of Revenue, No. 7529-R, 2003 WL 1878072, at *2 (Minn. T.C. Mar. 31, 2003) (“The act of filing ... requires actual receipt by the Tax Court within the 60-day period.”). The Minnesota Supreme Court has concluded likewise, specifically emphasizing that the date of mailing is not controlling:

[N]othing in either section 271.06, subdivision 2, or our rules

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