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Blue Chip Casino, LLC v. Laporte County Treasurer

Tax Court of Indiana

March 16, 2015

BLUE CHIP CASINO, LLC, Petitioner,
v.
LAPORTE COUNTY TREASURER, Respondent, and LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Intervenor

ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: STEPHEN H. PAUL, BRENT A. AUBERRY, DANIEL R. ROY, FAEGRE BAKER & DANIELS LLP, Indianapolis, IN.

ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENT: CHRISTOPHER L. WILLOUGHBY, BRAJE, NELSON & JANES, LLP, Michigan City, IN.

ATTORNEYS FOR INTERVENOR: MICHAEL S. BERGERSON, MICHAEL S. BERGERSON LAW OFFICE, Michigan City, IN; SHAW R. FRIEDMAN, FRIEDMAN & ASSOCIATES, PC, LaPorte, IN; MARILYN S. MEIGHEN, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Carmel, IN.

Page 1199

ORDER ON PARTIES' CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Martha Blood Wentworth, Judge.

Blue Chip Casino, LLC has appealed the LaPorte County Treasurer's failure to respond to its request for a refund of innkeeper's tax that it paid to the Treasurer between January 2007 and August 2009 (the period at issue).[1] The parties are before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment, but lacking subject matter jurisdiction, the Court cannot decide the merits of the case.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Blue Chip owns and operates a riverboat casino and hotel in LaPorte County, Indiana. During the period at issue, Blue Chip remitted over $300,000 in innkeeper's tax to the Treasurer for the complimentary hotel rooms it provided to various members and non-members of its Players Club program. (See Pet'r Pet. ¶ 5; Pet'r Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. (" Pet'r Br." ) at 3, 5, 7-14.) Thereafter, Blue Chip determined that it remitted the innkeeper's tax in error.

On December 29, 2008, Blue Chip filed a Form GA-110L with the Indiana Department of State Revenue seeking, among other things, a refund of the innkeeper's tax it remitted between January 2007 and May 2008. (See Pet'r Pet. ¶ 6; Pet'r Des'g Evid. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. (" Pet'r Des'g Evid." ), Ex. A at Ex. 2 at 4-12.) On July 20, 2009, the Department issued a Memorandum of Decision denying Blue Chip's refund claim, stating that because the tax was neither " reported [n]or remitted to the [Department, Blue Chip] must claim the refund directly from the county." (Pet'r Des'g Evid., Ex. A at Ex. 2 at 1-3.)

On September 9, 2009, Blue Chip sent the LaPorte County Auditor a three-page letter requesting a refund of the innkeeper's tax it remitted between January 2007 and July 2009. (See Pet'r Des'g Evid., Ex. A at Ex. 3.) On February 2, 2010, Blue Chip sent the Treasurer a letter stating:

Because LaPorte County has adopted Ordinance No. 92-1, under Ind. Code § 6-9-29-3 your office is granted " the same rights and powers with respect to collecting the county innkeeper's tax as the department of state revenue." Responsibility for collecting the Innkeeper's Tax includes administering refunds of erroneously collected tax, as is the responsibility of the Indiana Department of Revenue under Ind. Code § 6-8.1-9 with respect to Innkeeper's Tax that it collects on behalf of and distributes to various counties across the state. Therefore, Blue Chip has decided to submit this refund claim to you, as the designated local official responsible for collecting and administering the Innkeeper's Tax.

( See Pet'r Des'g Evid., Ex. A at Ex. 4 at 1, 3.) On April 21, 2010, Blue Chip sent the Treasurer a second letter to amend its refund claim to include the August 2009 period. (See Pet'r Des'g Evid., Ex. A at Ex. 5.) The Treasurer, however, never acted

Page 1200

on either of these refund claims. (See Pet'r Pet. ΒΆ 1(f)-(h); Resp't Answer ...


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