Williams v. Commissioner of Revenue, 9409-R

CourtTax Court of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtJane N. Bowman, Judge
PartiesBridgette Charmaine Williams, Appellant, v. Commissioner of Revenue, Appellee.
Docket Number9409-R
Decision Date26 March 2021

Bridgette Charmaine Williams, Appellant,
v.

Commissioner of Revenue, Appellee.

No. 9409-R

Tax Court of Minnesota, Regular Division, Dakota County

March 26, 2021


ORDER GRANTING THE COMMISSIONER'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

This matter came before The Honorable Jane N. Bowman, Judge of the Minnesota Tax Court, on December 29, 2020, on appellee Commissioner of Revenue's motion for judgment on the pleadings.

Appellant Bridgette Charmaine Williams is self-represented.

Jennifer A. Kitchak, Assistant Attorney General, represents appellee Commissioner of Revenue.

The court, upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, now makes the following:

ORDER

This court grants the Commissioner of Revenue's motion for judgment on the pleadings and affirms the Commissioner's two March 3, 2020 Notices of Determination on Appeal concerning Ms. Williams's 2016 and 2017 property tax refund requests.

IT IS SO ORDERED. THIS IS A FINAL ORDER. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

MEMORANDUM

Jane N. Bowman, Judge

I. Background

On December 30, 2019, Ms. Williams filed Forms M1PR seeking property tax refunds based on rent paid in 2016 and 2017.[1] On January 7, 2020, the Commissioner of Revenue issued two Notices of Change, which denied the 2016 and 2017 rent refund requests on the ground that no refunds were allowable because the applications for refund were not filed within the time limit allowed by state law.[2]

On January 17, 2020, Ms. Williams sought administrative review of the two Notices of Change pursuant to Minnesota Statutes section 270C.35.[3] In her administrative appeal, Ms. Williams conceded that her refund claims were filed late, explaining this was due to circumstances beyond her control. Ms. Williams explained she did not receive her Certificate of Rent Paid in time, because her initial landlord had passed away, and her new landlord spent the remaining time gaining legal rights to the property to release her Certificate. Ms. Williams also stated her own medical condition deterred her from timely filing.[4]

The Commissioner reviewed and denied the administrative appeal in two orders, both with Notice Dates of March 3, 2020.[5] In the orders, the Commissioner acknowledged the basis for the appeal-that the returns were filed late due to circumstances beyond Ms. Williams's control-and explained that, "while your circumstances mentioned in [the administrative appeal] are very unfortunate, we are respectfully denying your appeal because the statute does not provide for any exceptions to the one year limit for filing an original return." [6]

On April 16, 2020, Ms. Williams timely filed her appeal with this court.[7] The Notice of Appeal asserts that the physical or mental incapacity of Ms. Williams and her landlord "tolls the time of filing." [8] The Commissioner filed a Return and Answer on June 8, 2020, alleging that the refunds were correctly denied under Minnesota law.[9]

On June 24, 2020, the Commissioner brought a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12.03 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure and Minnesota Rules Chapter 8610.0070, subpart 5.[10] The Commissioner claims that Ms. Williams did not set forth a legally sufficient claim entitling her to relief, and the Commissioner is entitled to judgment on the pleadings.[11] Although Ms. Williams did not file a formal response, she opposed the motion at a December 29, 2020 hearing.[12]

II. Analysis

The Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings summarizes the statutes governing Minnesota's refund to renters. Under Minnesota law, "[a]ny claim for refund based on rent paid must be filed on or before August 15 of the year following the year in which the rent was paid." Minn. Stat. § 289A.18, subd. 5 (2020). A separate statute provides that "[a] property tax refund claim . . . is not allowed if the initial claim is filed more than one year after the original due date for filing the...

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