Judicial; Bankruptcy

In re: BULLSEYE HOLDINGS, LLC, Debtor. BULLSEYE HOLDINGS, LLC, Plaintiff, v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, Defendant., No. 4:13-BK-21374-BMW, 2018 WL 4998089 (Bankr. D. Ariz. Oct. 15, 2018)This matter came before the Court pursuant to the Complaint for Declaratory Relief (the “Complaint”) filed by Bullseye Holdings, LLC (the “Debtor” and/or “Holdings”), in which the Debtor asks the Court to determine that federal tax liens filed against related entity Bullseye Feeders, LLC (“Feeders”) do not encumber certain real property located in Fort Morgan, Colorado (the “Property”) which was transferred to the Debtor by Feeders in 2012. The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has asserted the affirmative defenses of: (1) fraudulent transfer; (2) nominee liability; (3) alter ego liability; and (4) successor liability.

An evidentiary hearing was conducted on February 27, 2018, at which time the parties presented evidence and oral argument. Testimony was provided by Defendant, his wife, and IRS Revenue Officer. At the conclusion of the trial, the Court allowed the parties to submit post-trial briefing, which was completed on March 29, 2018, at which time the Court took the matter under advisement. 

In re: SANDIA TOBACCO MANUFACTURERS, INC. A New Mexico corporation. Debtor., No. 16-12335-J11, 2018 WL 4964295 (Bankr. D.N.M. Oct. 12, 2018); 

The matteris before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment on Debtor’s objection to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (the “USDA”) proof of claim.  Debtor manufactured cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. As a tobacco manufacturer, Debtor is subject to the federal Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 (“FETRA”).  Under FETRA, the Debtor was subject to assessments starting in 2004 to fund the USDA’s payments to stabilize the tobacco industry as tobacco farmers transitioned to the free market. If the assessments are “excise taxes” under FETRA the amount due is entitled to priority status.  The Debtor objects to the USDA’s proof of claim on the basis that the FETRA assessments are not excise taxes and therefore give rise to a nonpriority unsecured claim. The USDA does not agree and asks the Court to find that the claim is entitled to priority status.
The issues presented in the cross motions for summary judgement can be distilled to the following: (1) whether the FETRA assessments are excise taxes or regulatory fees; (2) if the FETRA assessments are not regulatory fees, whether the assessments should be characterized as excise taxes or customs duties; and (3) if the FETRA assessments are excise taxes, when the taxed transactions occurred. As explained below, the Court will grant the USDA’s motion for summary judgment in part. The FETRA assessments are excise taxes entitled to priority status to the extent the tax was imposed on the removal of tobacco product for sale within the three years prior to the commencement of the Debtor’s bankruptcy case.
Regulatory:
Solicitation for applications: USDA; Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, notice is hereby given that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting nominations and applications to serve on the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (the “Committee”). Info HERE
Notice: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; We are advising the public of our determination that cotton designated as event TAM66274, which has been genetically engineered for ultra-low gossypol levels in the cottonseed, is no longer considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms. Our determination is based on our evaluation of data submitted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research in its petition for a determination of nonregulated status, our analysis of available scientific data, and comments received from the public in response to our previous notices announcing the availability of the petition for nonregulated status and its associated environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment. This notice also announces the availability of our written determination and finding of no significant impact. Info HERE
Final Rule: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); As permissible under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or the Act), EPA is establishing fees applicable to any person required to submit information to EPA; or a notice, including an exemption or other information, to be reviewed by EPA; or who manufactures (including imports) a chemical substance that is the subject of a risk evaluation. This final rulemaking describes the final TSCA fees and fee categories for fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021, and explains the methodology by which the final TSCA fees were determined. It identifies some factors and considerations for determining fees for subsequent fiscal years; and includes amendments to existing fee regulations governing the review of premanufacture notices, exemption applications and notices, and significant new use notices. As required in TSCA, EPA is also establishing standards for determining which persons qualify as “small business concerns” and thus would be subject to lower fee payments. Requiring manufacturers and processors of certain chemical substances to pay a fee for specific fee-triggering events under TSCA, will defray part of the EPA cost of administering TSCA. Info HERE