Downer v. Dept. of Revenue

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Tax Law
  • Date Filed: 12-06-2012
  • Case #: S059593
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, C.J. for the Court; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; and Landau, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Tax assessments will be upheld where a tobacco distributor purchases tobacco for redistribution from a business on a tribal reservation in Washington.

Downer appealed the decision of the tax court, which found him liable for taxes assessed by the Department of Revenue. Downer owned a retail store that he unsuccessfully attempted to sell in 2000 and 2001. Downer purchased tobacco products for resale from a business on a tribal reservation in Washington, which is not a licensed distributor in Oregon. The Department of Revenue issued notices of unpaid taxes on the tobacco products between 1997 and 2004. Downer appealed the assessments, arguing that during 2000 and 2001 when he was trying to sell his business he was not a "distributor" under ORS 323.500. He also argued that he shouldn't have to pay tobacco taxes because the Department misled him into believing he was in compliance. The Supreme Court concludes that Downer's arguments are not well taken and does not believe that further discussion would benefit the public, the bench, or the bar. Affirmed.

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