The Decedent and her husband were long time New Mexico residents. They filed personal income tax returns in New Mexico for tax years 1994 through 2000. In 2000, they moved to Oregon to be closer to their son. During their time in Oregon, they retained their residence, personal property, business assets, voter and car registrations, and bank accounts in New Mexico. The Decedent died in July 2001, following her husband’s death in April 2000. On April 15, 2002, the Decedent’s estate (“Taxpayer”), filed a New Mexico estate tax return and paid estimated resident estate taxes. The Taxpayer made an estate tax payment to the State of Oregon on the same date. On October 11, 2002, the Taxpayer filed an amended estate tax return and requested a partial refund. The Department refunded part of the requested amount and denied the remaining claim for refund. In June, 2003, the IRS initiated an audit of the Taxpayer for their federal estate tax return and any federal credits allowed for payments to New Mexico and Oregon. The State of Oregon issued a determination in August 2003, stating that the Decedent and her husband were full-time Oregon residents since 1991 for income tax purposes. Because of this, the Taxpayer submitted an amended New Mexico Estate Tax Return and a protective claim for refund in June 2004. The Department did not act on this claim, but did grant a later request for partial refund because of a stipulation as part of the IRS audit. In May 2007, the Taxpayer submitted an amended return and request for refund on the basis that Oregon determined that the Decedent was a non-resident of New Mexico and disputed the estate tax due or paid to New Mexico. The Department sent a letter to the Taxpayer stating that the amended return and claim for refund were incomplete. The Taxpayer challenged Oregon’s determination of the Decedent’s domicile, but that appeal has yet to be resolved. The Taxpayer protested the Department’s letter asking for more information, as the Taxpayer took this as a denial of its claim. The legal question at protest is whether the Department has authority to grant claims for refund after the statute of limitations for such claims has passed. The Department may not grant either the Taxpayer’s June 2004 or May 2007 claims for refund because the claims are time-barred. The Hearing Officer found that the Taxpayer was not entitled to any additional refund for the April 2002 payment of estate tax regardless of the legal merits of the refund claim because the Department does not have statutory authority to refund any additional amounts because the statute of limitations expired on December 31, 2005. The Taxpayer’s protest was denied.
Estate of Mary C. Satterla