BEFORE THE STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
FOR THE STATE OF WYOMING
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPEAL OF )
PAUL AND POLLY MIRICH FROM ) Docket No. 2008-108
A DECISION BY THE DEPARTMENT )
OF REVENUE )
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER
Paul Mirich appeared pro se, on behalf of Paul and Polly Mirich, (Petitioners or Taxpayers).
Cathleen D. Parker, Senior Assistant Attorney General, appeared for the Department of Revenue, (Department).
The State Board of Equalization (Board) shall review final decisions of the Department on application of any interested person adversely affected. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §39-11-102.1(c). A taxpayer’s appeal must be filed with the Board within thirty days of the Department’s final decision. Rules, Wyoming State Board of Equalization, Chapter 2, § 5(a). Petitioners timely appealed the final decision of the Department, effective September 17, 2008, and the Board has jurisdiction to decide this matter.
The Board, consisting of Chairman Thomas R. Satterfield, and Vice Chairman Thomas D. Roberts, and Board Member Steven D. Olmstead, held a hearing on May 15, 2009.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Petitioners purchased a used 1998 Ford F250 pickup truck (vehicle) from Robin N. Cook (Seller) on June 15, 2004. Petitioners made monthly payments to Seller and received a “Bill of Sale” (BOS1), signed by Seller, dated and notarized March 25, 2008, in which the terms of the sale were expressed. In BOS1, it was stated Petitioners paid 46 monthly payments of $427.73, and the vehicle was paid in full as of March 25, 2008, but the sale was “final” on June 15, 2004. On March 25, 2008, Petitioners attempted to have the vehicle titled into their names, but were informed by the Goshen County Treasurer that sales tax, along with interest and penalty fees were due. Petitioners protested and did not pay the sales tax, interest and penalty fee indicated by the Goshen County Treasurer. Petitioners then obtained another “Bill of Sale” (BOS2) from Seller, dated and signed March 25, 2008, for the same vehicle for the sale price of $2,000.00, indicating the sale was “final” on March 25, 2008. On or about March 25, 2008, Petitioners presented BOS2 to the Platte County Treasurer for titling and licensing of the vehicle. Petitioners paid sales tax of $100.00 and no interest or civil fees in Platte County. Upon learning Petitioners titled and licensed the vehicle in Platte County, the Goshen County Treasurer wrote Petitioners on May 19, 2008. Based upon BOS1, the Goshen County Treasurer made a demand of $1,434.73 for the remaining sales tax, interest and civil fees, with an adjusted credit for $100.00 of tax paid in Platte County for the vehicle. Not hearing from Petitioners, Goshen County Treasurer renewed the demand by another mailed letter, similar to her May 19, 2008 letter. When Petitioners did not respond to the demand for payment of sales tax, interest and civil penalties for the vehicle, the Goshen County Treasurer wrote the Department on July 30, 2008, turning over the collection of sales tax, interest and civil fees in this matter. On August 20, 2008, the Department issued a letter demand and notice of lien to Petitioners, indicating an assessment due in the amount of $1,067.10, to be paid to the Goshen County Treasurer. Petitioners timely filed a notice of appeal to the Board on September 17, 2008. Petitioners did not file a written statement per the Board’s orders, other than their notice of appeal. Only the Department filed written statements. A hearing before the Board was held May 15, 2009. Co-Petitioner, Polly Mirich, did not appear at the hearing.
The issue to be decided in this matter:
Whether the Department correctly determined the sales tax, interest, and civil penalty was due from Petitioners on the purchase of their vehicle?
We find the vehicle purchased by Petitioners subject to sales tax, interest and civil fees as the Department determined.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Petitioners reside in Lingle, Wyoming. [Notice of Appeal; Hearing Recording].
2. On June 15, 2004, Petitioners entered into an agreement to purchase a used Ford F250 pickup truck (vehicle) from Seller. [Exhibit 501, p. 0002; Exhibit 503, p. 0008; Hearing Recording].
3. The purchase of the vehicle by Petitioners from Seller was with an agreed term of 46 equal monthly payments of $427.73. Each monthly payment was paid to Seller. [Exhibit 501, p. 0002; Exhibit 503, p. 0008; Hearing Recording].
4. Petitioners received the signed and notarized BOS1 from Seller, dated on March 25, 2008, showing the purchase of the vehicle was “final” on June 15, 2004, and fully paid on March 25, 2008, for the amount of 46 equal payments of $427.73. No indication of insurance or interest paid was expressed in BOS1. [Exhibit 501, p. 0001; Hearing Recording].
5. Petitioners presented BOS1 to the Goshen County Treasurer on March 25, 2008, in order to title the vehicle, by paying sales tax and registration fees for the transfer of ownership of the vehicle. [Exhibit 503, p. 0008; Hearing Recording].
6. Petitioners were informed on March 25, 2008, by the Goshen County Treasurer, sales tax on the vehicle was due based on the total sum of the 46 payments of $427.73, or a sum of $19,675.58. Petitioners were also informed by the Goshen County Treasurer there was an additional charge of $452.55 for interest, as well as, a $98.38 civil fee for late payment of the sales tax. [Exhibit 503, p. 0008; Hearing Recording].
7. Petitioners disagreed with the Goshen County Treasurer regarding the sales tax, interest and civil fee, and did not title, or pay any tax, interest or fee in Goshen County for the vehicle. [Hearing Recording].
8. On March 25, 2008, Petitioners obtained BOS2 for the vehicle, in which it was stated the selling price was $2,000.00 and the “sale is final on 25th day of March 2008.” There was no indication of insurance or interest paid expressed in BOS2. On or about the same day, Petitioners obtained title to vehicle through Platte County, by presenting BOS2 to the Platte County Treasurer and paying sales tax of $100.00. [Exhibit 502, pp. 0006-0007; Exhibit 504, p. 0009; Board Exhibit 2; Hearing Recording].
9. On May 19, 2008, after learning from the Platte County Treasurer that Petitioners had titled the vehicle in Platte County and only paid sales tax of $100.00 based upon BOS2, the Goshen County Treasurer mailed a letter to Petitioners, stating there was still due and owing, based upon BOS1, the remaining amount of sales tax, interest and fees, with credit given for the sales tax paid in Platte County, a total sum of $1,434.73. [Exhibit 503, p. 0008; Hearing Recording].
10. Because Petitioners did not respond to her May 19, 2008 letter, the Goshen County Treasurer mailed a second letter to Petitioners on June 16, 2008, identical to the May 19th letter, and stamped it “Past Due”. [Board Exhibit 1; Hearing Recording].
11. On July 30, 2008, the Goshen County Treasurer sent a letter to the Department, in which she described the March 25, 2008, meeting between the Petitioners and her office regarding the vehicle. She provided the information from the BOS1 for the vehicle presented to her office. She also provided the information she subsequently obtained from the Platte County Treasurer regarding BOS2 and Petitioners’ titling of the vehicle. [Exhibit 502, pp. 0003-0007; Hearing Recording].
12. The Department mailed a letter to Petitioners on August 20, 2008, demanding payment of the sales tax in the sum of $927.96, along with interest in the sum of $46.35, and civil fee in the sum of $92.79 pertaining to the vehicle. The total demanded from Petitioners was $1,067.10. Petitioners were informed in the letter a lien was being placed on their vehicle by the Department until the debt was paid. [Exhibit 500, p. 0001; Hearing Recording].
13. On September 17, 2008, Petitioners sent a letter to the Department questioning the sales tax, interest and civil fees pertaining to their vehicle, and enclosed a September 16, 2008, notarized copy of BOS2, along with a photocopy of the registration obtained in Platte County for the vehicle. [Notice of Appeal].
14. On September 17, 2008, Petitioners’ letter to the Department was filed with the Board as a Notice of Appeal, challenging the Department’s sales tax, interest and civil fees demand from Petitioners. [Notice of Appeal].
15. On May 15, 2009 , the Board held a hearing. Paul Mirich, attended and testified under oath, on behalf of Petitioners. [Hearing Order; Hearing Recording].
16. Petitioner, Paul Mirich, testified the vehicle was purchased from Seller in June 2004. Petitioner testified they paid Seller’s debt by making 46 equal payments of $427.73 to Seller, until the purchase or debt of the vehicle was paid in full. Petitioner also testified each monthly payment included $75.00 for automobile insurance, in order to be co-insured with Seller for the vehicle. Petitioner further testified he took immediate possession of the vehicle in June 2004, and while using it, he operated the vehicle on Seller’s registration and license plates. [Hearing Recording].
17. Mr. Mirich admitted in the hearing BOS2 was inaccurate regarding the sale price of the vehicle, but provided no other evidence regarding the price paid for the vehicle, or insurance and interest paid. [Hearing Recording].
18. Goshen County Treasurer, Sharon Knaub, testified at the hearing about her calculations of the sales tax, interest and civil fees. She explained she calculated the time of the sale from the date of the sale indicated on BOS1, June 15, 2004, and the sales price was the sum of the 46 payments of $427.73. She stated the tax was based upon the sales tax rate of five percent (5%), which was in effect in June 2004. She said she followed the Wyoming statutes regarding interest and civil fees on late payments for registration of motor vehicles. [Hearing Recording].
19. Dan Noble, Administrator of the Excise Tax Division for the Department, testified at the hearing that the sale of the vehicle between Seller and Petitioners was treated by the Department for tax purposes as a “conditional sale”and the sales tax was due upon each payment, or as a total when all payments were finally made. Dan Noble further testified the amount of sales tax, interest and civil fee determined by the Department was figured as of the final date of the payments being made on the conditional sale, and the sum determined by the Department was less than the amount determined by the Goshen County Treasurer. [Hearing Recording].
20. Any portion of the Conclusions of Law: Principles of Law, or the Conclusions of Law: Application of Principles of Law set forth below, which includes a finding of fact, may also be considered a Finding of Fact and, therefore, is incorporated herein by reference.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW: PRINCIPLES OF LAW
21. Upon application of any person adversely affected, the Board must review final Department actions concerning state excise taxes and “[h]old hearings after due notice in the manner and form provided in the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act and its own rules and regulations of practice and procedure.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §39-11-102.1(c)(viii). The Board must “[d]ecide all questions that may arise with reference to the construction of any statute affecting the assessment, levy and collection of taxes, in accordance with the rules, regulations, orders and instructions prescribed by the department.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 39-11-102.1(c)(iv).
22. The Board’s Rules provide that:
Except as specifically provided by law or in this section, the Petitioner shall have the burden of going forward and the ultimate burden of persuasion, which burden shall be met by a preponderance of the evidence. If Petitioner provides sufficient evidence to suggest the Department determination is incorrect, the burden shifts to the Department to defend its action. For all cases involving a claim for exemption, the Petitioner shall clearly establish the facts supporting an exemption. In proceedings involving the question of whether or not there is a taxable event under Wyoming law, the Petitioner shall have the burden of going forward and the Department shall have the ultimate burden of persuasion.
Rules, Wyoming State Board of Equalization, Chapter 2, § 20.
23. “The phrase, ‘preponderance of the evidence,’ has been given various definitions by different courts but, according to McCormick et al. on Evidence 2nd Ed. H.B., s. 339, p. 794, the most acceptable meaning seems to be proof which leads the trier of fact to find that the existence of the contested fact is more probable than its non-existence.” Scherling v. Kilgore, 599 P.2d 1352, 1359 (Wyo. 1979).
24. The role of this Board is strictly adjudicatory:
It is only by either approving the determination of the Department, or by disapproving the determination and remanding the matter to the Department, that the issues brought before the Board for review can be resolved successfully without invading the statutory prerogatives of the Department.
Amoco Production Company v. Wyoming State Board of Equalization, 12 P.3d 668, 674 (Wyo. 2000). See also, Amoco Production Company v. Department of Revenue, 2004 WY 89, ¶ 22, 94 P.3d 430, 440 (Wyo. 2004). The Board’s duty is to adjudicate the dispute between taxpayers and the Department.
25. It is an elementary rule of statutory interpretation that all portions of an act must be read in pari materia, and every word, clause and sentence of it must be considered so that no part will be inoperative or superfluous. Also applicable is the oft-repeated rule it must be presumed the Legislature did not intend futile things. Hamlin v. Transcon Lines, 701 P.2d 1139, 1142 (Wyo. 1985). See also, TPJ v. State, 2003 WY 49, ¶ 11, 66 P.3d 710, 713 (Wyo. 2003).
26. “As we have often stated, our rules of statutory construction focus on discerning the legislature’s intent. In doing so, we begin by making an ‘inquiry respecting the ordinary and obvious meaning of the words employed according to their arrangement and connection.’ Parker Land and Cattle Company v. Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, 845 P.2d 1040, 1042 (Wyo.1993) (quoting Rasmussen v. Baker, 7 Wyo. 117, 133, 50 P. 819, 823 (1897)). We construe the statute as a whole, giving effect to every word, clause, and sentence, and we construe together all parts of the statute in pari materia. State Department of Revenue and Taxation v. Pacificorp, 872 P.2d 1163, 1166 (Wyo.1994).” Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Department of Revenue, 2007 WY 79, ¶ 15, 158 P.3d 131, 136 (Wyo. 2007).
27. The Wyoming Supreme Court has previously summarized a number of useful precepts concerning statutory interpretation:
Statutes must be construed so that no portion is rendered meaningless. (citation omitted) Interpretation should not produce an absurd result. (citation omitted) We are guided by the full text of the statute, paying attention to its internal structure and the functional relation between the parts and the whole. (citations omitted) Each word of a statute is to be afforded meaning, with none to be rendered superfluous. (citation omitted) Further, the meaning afforded to a word should be that word’s standard popular meaning unless another meaning is clearly intended. (citation omitted) If the meaning of a word is unclear, it should be afforded the meaning that best accomplishes the statute’s purpose. (citation omitted) We presume that the legislature acts intentionally when it uses particular language in one statute, but not in another. (citations omitted) If two sections of legislation appear to conflict, they should be given a reading that gives them both effect. (citation omitted).
Rodriguez v. Casey, 2002 WY 111, ¶ 10, 50 P.3d 323, 326-327 (Wyo. 2002); quoted in Hede v. Gilstrap, 2005 WY 24, ¶ 6, 107 P.3d 158, 163 (Wyo. 2005).
28. Except as exempted by statute, the State of Wyoming levies an excise tax upon “[t]he sales price paid for motor vehicles,… as defined by W.S. 31-1-101.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §39-15-103(a)(i)(M).
29. “‘Vehicle’ means a device in, upon or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway.…” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-1-101(a)(xxvi); Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-16-101(xxv).
30. “‘Motor vehicle’ means every vehicle which is self-propelled....” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-1-101(a)(xv).
31. “‘Used vehicle’ means any vehicle other than a new vehicle.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-16-101(a)(xvi).
32. “‘Truck’ means a motor vehicle designed, used or maintained for the transportation of property, including pickup trucks....” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §31-1-101(a)(xv)(J).
33. “‘Sale’ means any transfer of title or possession in Wyoming for a consideration....” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §39-15-101(a)(vii).
34. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 39-15-101 (a)(viii) defines sales price as:
(A) Shall apply to the measure to sales tax and means the total amount or consideration, including cash, credit property and services for which personal property or services are sold, leased or rented, valued in money, whether received in money or otherwise, without any deductions for the following:
* * *
(B) Shall not include:* * *
(II) Interest, financing and carrying charges from credit extended on the sale of personal property or services, if the amount is separate stated on the invoice, bill of sale or similar document given to the purchaser;…
35. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 31-2-104 (h) pertains to transfer of ownership, and provides in part that:
(i) The certificate of title is being held by a bank or other financial institution on the date the vehicle is delivered. The transferor shall then deliver to the transferee…a signed, notarized bill of sale.…
36. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 39-15-103 (b) pertaining to imposition of tax, provides in part:
(ii) Except for those vehicles specified under W.S. 39-15-107(b)(i), the sales price of motor vehicles,…shall be declared by the purchaser upon a copy of the original invoice from the vendor or upon an affidavit furnished by the department if not purchased from a vendor and the tax collected shall be based upon the declaration or invoice.
37. “Upon receipt of an application and payment of fees any county clerk shall, if satisfied that the applicant is the owner of the vehicle for which application for certificate of title is made, issue a certificate of title.…The county clerk shall not deliver a certificate of title issued under this section until presentation of a receipt for payment of sales or use tax pursuant to W.S. 39-15-107(b).…” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-2-103(d).
38. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 39-15-103(a)(i)(A) and (M) provides:
(a) For a taxable event. The following shall apply:
(i) Except as provided by W.S. 39-15-105, there is levied an excise tax upon:
(A) The sales price of every retail sale of tangible personal property within the state;
* * *
(M) The sales price paid for motor vehicles,…as defined by W.S. 31-1-101.
39. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 39-15-103(b)(i), and (ii) provides:
(b) Basis of tax. The following shall apply:
(i) Except as provided by W.S. 39-15-105, there is levied and shall be paid by the purchaser on all sales an excise tax upon all events as provided by subsection (a) of this section;
(ii) For purposes of W.S. 39-15-107(b)(i), the sales price of motor vehicles, house trailers, trailer coaches, trailers or semitrailers shall be declared by the purchaser upon a copy of the original invoice from the vendor or upon an affidavit furnished by the department if not purchased from a vendor and the tax collected shall be based upon the declaration or invoice.
40. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 39-15-107(b)(vi) provides, in part:
(b) Payment. The following shall apply:
(vi) If a sale is made on credit, contract or conditional basis and title does not pass until a future date, there shall be paid upon each payment that portion of the total tax which the amount paid bears to the purchase price.
41. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 31-2-201 provides:
(a) Every owner of a vehicle shall apply for registration of and license plates for the vehicle at the following times:
* * *
(ii) Upon transfer of ownership of a vehicle:
* * *
(D) Within thirty (30) days for other transfer. Vehicle may be operated by the transferee during this thirty (30) day period when accompanied by a properly executed title for the vehicle transferring interest in the vehicle to the transferee.
42. Wyoming Statute Annotated Section 39-15-108(b)(ii)(A)(B)(C) provides:
(b) Interest. The following shall apply:
(ii) If the sales or use tax on a vehicle, including local option sales or use tax, under W.S. 39-15-101 through 39-15-211 or 39-16-101 through 39-16-211, is not paid within fifty (50) days after the date of the sale, or in the case of a motor vehicle brought into this state, fifty (50) days after the vehicle is brought into the state if the owner submits to the county treasurer an affidavit and any other satisfactory proof as necessary to verify the date the vehicle was brought into the state:
(A) Interest shall accrue at the rate of one percent (1%) per month or fractional portion thereof from the fiftieth day after the date of sale until the date of payment of all sales tax interest and civil fees due. County treasurers shall collect interest due under this subsection which shall be forwarded to the department and credited to the state general fund;
(B) A civil fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) from the fiftieth day through the sixtieth day after the date of sale shall also be assessed by the county treasurer under this paragraph. If all sales tax, interest and civil fees due are not paid by the sixtieth day, the civil fee shall be the twenty-five dollar ($25.00) amount or ten percent (10%) of the amount of tax due, whichever is greater, and shall be assessed by the county treasurer. Civil fees collected under this subparagraph shall be credited to the general fund of the county which makes the collection;
(C) The tax is delinquent if the taxpayer or his agent knew or reasonably should have known that the tax liability was not paid within the fifty (50) day period.
43. Chapter 2, Section 13 of the Department’s Rules address the taxation of motor vehicles:
(a) Tax Rate for Purchases. The appropriate tax rate on the purchase of a motor vehicle shall be comprised of state sales or use taxes and applicable county optional sales or use taxes. The appropriate tax rate shall be determined by the tax rate in effect in the county of the purchaser’s principal residence on the date of the sale.
44. The Department’s Rules specifically address consideration:
“‘Consideration’ means recompense or payment which includes anything of value to the parties to a sale. Consideration is not limited to cash. Assumption of debt is a form of consideration.”
Rules, Wyoming Department of Revenue, Chapter 2, § 3 (m).
45. The initial step in arriving at a correct interpretation of a statute is an inquiry respecting the ordinary and obvious meaning of the words employed according to their arrangement and connection. A statute must be construed as a whole in order to ascertain its intent and general purpose and also the meaning of each part. We give effect to every word, clause and sentence and construe all components of a statute in pari materia. Parker Land & Cattle Company v. Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, 845 P.2d 1040, 1042 (Wyo. 1993).
46. To address an apparent ambiguity, we may resort to extrinsic aids to interpretation to confirm plain meaning. Parker Land & Cattle Company v. Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, 845 P.2d 1040, 1043 (Wyo. 1993). We will give deference to the statutory interpretation of an agency charged with administration of a statute, unless that interpretation is clearly erroneous. Parker Land & Cattle Company v. Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, 845 P.2d 1040, 1045 (Wyo. 1993).
47. “Conditional sale” is defined in pertinent part as: “1. A sale in which the buyer gains immediate possession but the seller retains title until the buyer performs a condition, esp. payment of the full purchase price.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition, p. 1364 (West Publishing 1999).
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW: APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES OF LAW.
48. Petitioners’ appeal was filed timely and the Board has jurisdiction to hear this matter. Facts, ¶¶ 12 - 14.
49. Petitioners purchased Seller’s vehicle in June 2004, by assuming Seller’s debt and making the monthly payments for approximately four years, but took immediate possession of the vehicle. Facts, ¶¶ 2 -3, and 16.
50. Petitioners made 46 equal monthly payments of $427.73 to Seller as payment for the purchased vehicle, as evidenced in BOS1. Facts, ¶ 3. Petitioners also assert they paid for motor vehicle insurance as part of the monthly payments made to Seller, and were named as coinsured. However, no other evidence of such insurance was presented to the Board. Facts, ¶¶ 4, 8, and 16.
51. Petitioners were uncertain as to whether interest was included in the monthly payments to Seller, and did not receive any interest paid statement from Seller, nor was any interest payment expressed on a bill of sale provided by Seller. Facts ¶¶ 4, 8, and 17.
52. Petitioners argue the vehicle was not new, and not as valuable as calculated by the Goshen County Treasurer, because the payments made to Seller included liability insurance. Facts, ¶¶ 4 and 8. Petitioners, however, admitted they purchased and received the vehicle for a greater value than the price expressed in BOS2. Facts, ¶¶ 3, 8, and 17.
53. Petitioners purchased the vehicle in Wyoming, and as such, were subject to the purchase sales tax or use tax. The sales tax for the vehicle is determined on the purchase price, which can only be discerned from the language contained in BOS1. The purchase price for the vehicle was the sum of the 46 monthly payments of $427.73 or a total of $19,675.58. Facts, ¶¶ 1, 4, and 16; Conclusions, ¶¶ 33 - 34, 38 - 39, and, 44. We find BOS2 does not reflect the terms of Petitioners’ purchase of the vehicle. Facts ¶ 8; Conclusions, ¶¶ 38 and 40.
54. Because the Department determined the sale between Seller and Petitioners was a conditional sale, the calculated sales tax due from Petitioners was based upon the purchase price of the vehicle as of the final payment date. Conclusions, ¶¶ 34,and 40. The Department, in its August 20, 2008, letter to Petitioners, adjusted the sales tax due, because Petitioners had paid $100.00 of the sales tax to Platte County. Facts ¶¶ 12 and 19. The sales tax rate determined by the Department, however, was the rate in effect in Goshen County at the time BOS1 was issued, which was five and one-quarter percent (5.25%). Facts, ¶¶ 18-19; Conclusions, ¶¶ 28, 39 and 43.
55. The purchase and use of the vehicle by Petitioners was a taxable event, subject to the sales tax, interest and civil penalty under Wyoming law. Conclusions, ¶¶ 28, 30, 35, 38 - 39, and 43. When a person buys a vehicle, sales tax is due on the entire transaction, and must be paid before the county clerk issues a title to the purchaser. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §39-15-107(b)(i). Conclusions, ¶¶ 35-37, and 41-42.
56. Additionally, Petitioners argue they should not be subject to interest or civil fees, because they paid the sales tax and registered the vehicle on the day the bill of sale was issued. Petitioners’ argument fails because:
First, Petitioners did not pay the sales tax on the full purchase price of the vehicle at the time BOS2 was presented to the Platte County Treasurer. Facts ¶¶ 9-12, and 18-19.
Second, Petitioners did not respond to the Goshen County Treasurer’s letter and did not pay the full amount for sales tax due. Facts ¶¶ 10-12, and 18-19.
Third, at least five months elapsed before the Department issued its letter to Petitioners for the unpaid sales tax, therefore, the debt to the state accrues interest and civil penalty. Facts, ¶¶ 12, and 19; Conclusions, ¶¶ 41-42.
57. The Goshen County Treasurer was correct in the assessment of tax, interest, and civil penalty against Petitioners for the purchase of the F250 Ford Pickup truck by Petitioners, as described in BOS1. Facts, ¶¶ 6, 11, and 18; Conclusions, ¶¶ 28, 30, 34, and, 37-42.
58. The Department, taking the information provided by the Goshen County Treasurer, made its decision on the nature of the sales transaction and properly concluded the transaction in question met the Wyoming statutory standards for imposition of sales tax. The tax is imposed when a sale occurs and when there is a transfer of title or possession in Wyoming for consideration. Delay in tendering the sales tax results in statutorily required interest and civil penalty. Facts, ¶¶ 11-12, and 19; Conclusions, ¶¶ 33-36, 38-39, 40-44, and, 47.
59. In this case, the sale of the vehicle to Petitioners was a taxable event. The Department’s determination that it was a conditional sale is rational, and the sales tax calculated, with the credits allowed, was proper. The accrued interest and civil penalty, as assessed by the Department was also proper, based upon the delay by Petitioners in paying the required sales tax. Petitioners had the burden of going forward and the ultimate burden of persuasion in this case, and failed to meet their burden of persuasion. Petitioners may be required to pay additional interest and civil penalty, not having paid the amount in the August 20, 2008 demand letter from the Department. The decision letter of August 20, 2008, by the Department is therefore correct.
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the Department’s decision to levy an excise or use tax, interest, and civil penalty upon the purchase made by Petitioners for their vehicle is affirmed.
Pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-3-114 and Rule 12, Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure, any person aggrieved or adversely affected in fact by this decision may seek judicial review in the appropriate district court by filing a petition for review within 30 days of the date of this decision.
DATED this day of June, 2009.
STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
Thomas R. Satterfield, Chairman
Thomas D. Roberts, Vice-Chairman
Steven D. Olmstead, Board Member
Wendy J. Soto, Executive Secretary