The Arkansas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this week in a case, Larry Walther Director of the Department of Finance and Administration v. Flis Enterprises Inc., involving free Whoppers.
Flis, which owns 16 Burger King franchises, argues it should pay tax on the wholesale cost of the free meals it gives its managers, while the Department of Finance argues Flis should be taxed on the retail cost.
However, with the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling on January 18 the state can’t named as a defendant, a new wrinkle in the case presents itself.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette spoke with Matt Boch in an article titled, “State immunity to figure in case by Burger King.”
Boch said before the state indicated that it would raise the Andrews case in its arguments, Flis Enterprises' tax dispute was most relevant to tax lawyers, restaurateurs and manufacturers
"For tax geeks like me, it's interesting," he said. “If the justices rule that disputes of tax assessments cannot be taken to court, the case could have a much broader impact.”
Boch also spoke with Arkansas Business for an article titled, “As Market Values Fall, Malls Seek Lower Tax Assessments.”
Two Arkansas malls are challenging their 2017 property assessments as they’ve seen anchor tenants close their doors.
Last year, the legislature passed Act 659, which “was promoted as a way to improve the fairness of property tax administration and appeals and supported by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas.”
The act “lowers a taxpayer’s burden of proof when appealing a board of equalization decision, and it specifically provides that courts must not presume that a board of equalization’s valuation decision is correct or is entitled to some special weight,” Boch said. “This is a tremendous departure from the historic approach of judicial deference unless the assessment is manifestly excessive, clearly erroneous, or confiscatory, and it should go a long way to giving taxpayers a fair shake.”