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Soyka v. Commissioner of Revenue

Supreme Court of Minnesota

July 31, 2013

Sharon A. Soyka, Relator,
v.
Commissioner of Revenue, Respondent.

Tax Court Office of Appellate Courts

Sharon A. Soyka, St. Cloud, Minnesota, pro se relator.

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Kathryn M. Woodruff, Tamar N. Gronvall, Assistant Attorneys General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for respondent.

Took no part, Lillehaug, J.

SYLLABUS

The relator's failure to file a notice of appeal within 60 days after the filing of an order of the Commissioner of Revenue divested the tax court of subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal.

Considered and decided by the court without oral argument.

OPINION

STRAS, Justice.

The question presented in this case is whether the Minnesota Tax Court has subject matter jurisdiction over an appeal when a taxpayer fails to file a notice of appeal within 60 days after notice of the making and filing of an order of the Commissioner of Revenue. The tax court dismissed Soyka's appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.

I.

On January 19, 2012, the Commissioner of Revenue ("the Commissioner") ordered relator Sharon A. Soyka to pay $9, 126.55 in income taxes, penalties, and interest for the 2007 tax year. Soyka then had 60 days—or until March 19—to appeal the Commissioner's order to the tax court. See Minn. Stat. § 271.06, subd. 2 (2012). Instead of filing a notice of appeal from the Commissioner's order directly with the tax court, Soyka mailed her notice of appeal, affidavit of service, and filing fee to the Commissioner. Upon receipt, the Commissioner immediately forwarded those documents to the tax court, which stamped them as filed on April 23, 2012. Three days later, the Commissioner received a letter from Soyka in which she stated that she had "an appeal in progress" and enclosed an extension request that she claimed to have mailed to the Commissioner on March 16. The court did not receive a copy of Soyka's extension request until June 14 when the Commissioner included it as an attachment to his motion to dismiss Soyka's appeal.

The tax court granted the Commissioner’s motion and dismissed Soyka’s appeal. In its order dismissing Soyka’s appeal, the court found that it had never received an extension request from Soyka, that Soyka’s notice of appeal was filed on April 20, [1] and that the Commissioner did not receive Soyka’s extension request until April 26. The court concluded that Soyka was not entitled to any additional time to file her appeal because she did not file a request with the court seeking an extension of time. Because Soyka did not file her notice of appeal until more than a month after it was due to the court, the court dismissed Soyka’s appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Soyka seeks review of the dismissal by writ of certiorari.

II.

“We review tax court decisions to determine whether the tax court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, whether the tax court’s decision is supported by evidence in the record, and whether the tax court made an error of law.” Hohmann v. Comm’r of Revenue, 781 N.W.2d 156, 157 (Minn. 2010). We review the tax court’s factual findings for clear error, Bond v. Comm’r of Revenue, 691 N.W.2d 831, 835-36 (Minn. 2005), and we review the tax court’s legal determinations de novo ...


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