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Commissioner of Revenue v. J.C. Penney Company, Inc.

730 N.E.2d 266, 431 Mass. 684, (2000)

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Commissioner of Revenue v. J.C. Penney Company, Inc.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

730 N.E.2d 266, 431 Mass. 684, (2000)

Facts

J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (plaintiff) was a Delaware corporation that was headquartered in Texas. In addition to a retail operation, J. C. Penney ran a direct-mail catalog business through which it sent three catalogs per year to customers around the United States to solicit mail orders. The catalogs were produced in Texas and printed and shipped in Indiana, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. J. C. Penney sent catalogs to customers in Massachusetts but did not pay taxes on the catalogs. The Massachusetts commissioner of revenue (the commissioner) (defendant) assessed a deficiency against J. C. Penney for unpaid use taxes on the value of the catalogs J. C. Penney mailed to customers in Massachusetts. J. C. Penney paid the deficiency and applied for a refund, arguing that the tax was improper because J. C. Penney did not make use of the catalogs in Massachusetts. The appellate tax board (the board) held for J. C. Penney, finding that the company did not make taxable use of the catalogs in Massachusetts because the catalogs were produced and mailed out of state. The commissioner appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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