Sprint Telephony v. California Bd. of EqualizationAnnotate this Case
Appellants Sprint Telephony PCS, L.P., Sprint Spectrum L.P., Wirelessco, L.P., Nextel of California, Inc., and Nextel Boost of California, LLC (collectively referred to as Sprint or the company) filed this action seeking a refund on taxes they paid on property assessed by respondent State Board of Equalization. The Legislature mandated that for a telephone company to file such a judicial tax-refund action it must first file a petition for reassessment with the Board stating “in the petition [that] it is intended to . . . serve [as a claim for refund].” Sprint filed a petition for reassessment but did not state in it that the petition was also intended to serve as a claim for refund. Relying on the plain language of the statute, the trial court granted summary judgment in the Board’s favor. On appeal, the Court of Appeal affirmed: "[a]lthough requiring a telephone company to state in its reassessment petition that it is claiming a refund as a prerequisite for filing a judicial tax-refund action serves limited practical purposes, the requirement is plain and compulsory."