Westmoreland Res., Inc. v. Dep’t of RevenueAnnotate this Case
Westmoreland Resources Inc. (WRI) mines coal owned by the Crow Tribe and pays coal severance and gross proceeds taxes to the Tribe. In 2005, WRI filed a tax return with the Department of Revenue for coal produced and sold at its Absaloka Mine, located on the Crow Reservation, during tax year 2004. The return deducted the coal severance and gross proceeds taxes it had paid to the Tribe. The Department disallowed WRI’s deduction. WRI filed a complaint with the State Tax Appeal Board. WRI and the Department later filed a joint petition for an interlocutory adjudication of a substantive question of law with the district court. At issue was whether WRI’s coal severance and gross proceeds deduction was proper. The district court held in favor of the Department, concluding that WRI may not deduct taxes paid to the Tribe as “taxes paid on production” from the “contract sales price” when calculating the Resource Indemnity Trust and Ground Water Assessment Tax. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the phrase “any tax paid to the federal, state, or local governments” within Mont. Code Ann. 15-35-102(11) does not include those taxes WRI pays to the Tribe.