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Tax

Case from July 2012 to Oct. 2012

Licensing fees
In its application to cellular service providers, the term "telephone company,” from tax statute S.C. Code Section 12-20-100, as it relates to an increase in licensing fees, is ambiguous, and any doubt must be resolved in favor of the taxpayer.
Alltel v. SCDOR, No. 27156 (S.C. Sup. Ct., August 8, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 27)

Case from May 2012 and June 2012

Assessment ratios
S.C Code Ann. Section 12-43-220(c), applying a four percent assessment ratio for a legal residence, does not apply when the residence is rented for profit during the tax year. The six percent ratio should be used instead.
Ford v. Beaufort Cnty. Assessor, No. 4992 (S.C. Ct. App. June 27, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 22)

Case from March 2012 to May 2012

Accounting
Alternate apportionment methods may be used if they fairly represent a taxpayer’s business activity in the state, and the S.C. Department of Revenue has the burden of proving that an alternative accounting method is more appropriate.
CarMax Auto Superstores v. SCDOR, No. 4953 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 14, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 10)

Cases from Jan. 2012 to March 2012

Exclusions
Where S.C. law provides that a non-resident corporation's dividend income is statutorily excluded from South Carolina taxable income, S.C. law further allocates the interest expenses related to the excluded dividends to the non-resident corporation's principal place of business.
Emerson Elec. Co. v. S.C. Dep’t of Revenue, No. 27073 (S.C. Sup. Ct., Dec. 12, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 44)

Fraud
The fact that a misrepresentation is discoverable in public records does not bar a suit for fraud; rather, it presents a question of fact as to whether the element of reliance required for a fraud claim is justified, to be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
Moseley v. All Things Possible, No. 27074 (S.C. Sup. Ct., Dec. 12, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 44)

Punitive damages
Punitive damages are appropriate and do not violate due process rights when post-trial review of the damages using the Gamble and Mitchell factors supports the award, despite claims that the award of punitive damages has no deterrent effect and the appellants have no ability to pay.
Magnolia North POA v. Heritage Communities, Inc., No. 4943 (S.C. Ct. App., Feb. 15, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 6)

Slander
When a mortgage is obtained without a party’s knowledge, that party can bring a slander claim against the bank for publishing the false statement of the mortgage.
Solley v. Navy Federal Credit Union, No. 4937 (S.C. Ct. App., Feb. 1, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 4)

Case from July 2011 to Oct. 2011


Exemption
A tax-exempt owner in fee simple does not pass on the exempt status to a lessee of the property. Section 12-37-950 unambiguously requires the leasehold estate "be valued for property tax purposes as real estate" and makes no mention of an exemption if the leasehold estate is used for a public purpose.
Clarendon Cnty. v. TYKAT, Inc., No. 27025 (S.C. Sup. Ct., Aug. 15, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 27).