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Thursday, February 2, 2023

The Pizza Hut Tax War Is Finally Over

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Photo:

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

Belated congratulations to

Gene Bicknell,

who not too long ago gained a 15-year tax combat on the Kansas Supreme Court. In 2006 Mr. Bicknell bought what was as soon as the world’s greatest megachain of Pizza Huts, with one thing like 800 shops and 22,000 staff. That yr Pizza Hut’s Super Bowl advert featured the singer

Jessica Simpson

crooning a few crust manufactured from 28 “poppable” tacky bites.

Mr. Bicknell has been battling the Kansas Revenue Department ever since. He initially lived there however in 2003 sought to change his residency to Florida, which has no revenue tax. Kansas disputed the transfer and dunned him $43 million, together with on the Pizza Huts. There had been a number of trials and journeys to appeals courts. “We hold Gene was domiciled in Florida,” the Kansas Supreme Court dominated final month.

Determining a taxpayer’s residence includes a wide range of elements, and Mr. Bicknell’s mistake seems to have been failing to make a cleaner break. He reported being in Florida 134 days in 2006, versus 111 for Kansas, although he later stated that second quantity was a tacky overestimate compiled by his employees. He held a Florida driver’s license and voter registration and listed that deal with on his federal tax returns.

Yet he renewed his Kansas driver’s license in 2004, didn’t be a part of a Florida church till 2012, and had an outdated deal with on a W-2 kind. As purported proof that Mr. Bicknell was nonetheless in enterprise in Kansas, the state Revenue Department pointed to the truth that he had by no means formally introduced his retirement or held a goodbye social gathering. Anything you don’t say or do apparently can be utilized in opposition to you in a tax court docket of regulation.

The Kansas Supreme Court dominated that Mr. Bicknell bore the burden of proof for the residency change. But “substantial competent evidence,” it discovered, supported the “legal conclusion that Gene was domiciled in Florida.” Given how many individuals moved in the course of the Covid pandemic, there’s a warning right here, and never just for moguls, honchos and bigwigs. Join a church and test your W-2s, otherwise you is perhaps pursued by a income Javert till 2037 or later.

“The Department of Revenue’s approach has always felt like extortion,” Mr. Bicknell stated final month, “forcing me and my family to endure hundreds of interrogatories, depositions, three trials, three appeals, 15 years of attorney time, and appearances before an agency board that was a kangaroo court.” Adding curiosity, he stated in 2020, Kansas owed him $63 million.

Enjoy your refund, Mr. Bicknell, together with many extra years as a free Floridian.

Journal Editorial Report: The week’s greatest and worst from Kim Strassel, Kate Bachelder, Mene Ukueberuwa and Dan Henninger. Images: Paramount Pictures/Zuma Press/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Source: www.wsj.com

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