Apex Oil Co. v. State, ex rel. Division of TaxationAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court quashed the order of the district court dismissing two actions challenging the State Division of Taxation's denial of Plaintiff's claim for a refund of $4,280,039 paid for Motor Fuel Tax assessed on the purchase and sale of 300,000 barrels of gasoline, holding that the the district court erred.
Plaintiff purchased 300,000 barrels of gasoline from Defendant. The Division imposed a motor fuel taxes on the gasoline that was charged to Defendant, as the seller of the gas. Defendant sought reimbursement from Plaintiff, which sought a refund from the Division under R.I. Gen. Stat. 31-36-13. The Division denied Plaintiff's claim for a refund on the grounds that Plaintiff did not have a right to pursue a refund. Plaintiff then filed a complaint alleging constitutional violations and violations of the Motor Fuel Tax, among other claims. Plaintiff then appealed the Division's denial of its request for a refund. The hearing officer concluded that Plaintiff's claim was barred by both res judicata and administrative finality. Ultimately, both cases were dismissed. The Supreme Court quashed the decisions below, holding (1) Plaintiff had standing; (2) the trial judge erred in concluding that res judicata barred Plaintiff's appeal; and (3) the doctrine of administrative finality did not apply to bar Plaintiff's claims.