Taxing Statute Interpretation In California

The interpretation and application of taxing statutes to undisputed facts presents a pure question of law subject to independent review. (Engs Motor Truck Co. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1987) 189 Cal. App. 3d 1458, 1464 [235 Cal. Rptr. 117].) Our state's Supreme Court recently reviewed the principles guiding statutory construction: 'In construing statutes, we must determine and effectuate legislative intent.'To ascertain intent, we look first to the words of the statutes, 'giving them their usual and ordinary meaning'. If there is no ambiguity in the language of the statute, 'then the Legislature is presumed to have meant what it said, and the plain meaning of the language governs.' 'Where the statute is clear, courts will not "interpret away clear language in favor of an ambiguity that does not exist."( Lennane v. Franchise Tax Bd. (1994) 9 Cal. 4th 263, 268 [36 Cal. Rptr. 2d 563, 885 P.2d 976].)