Harper Investments, Inc. v. Auditing Division, Utah State Tax Commission

In Harper Investments, Inc. v. Auditing Division, Utah State Tax Commission, 868 P.2d 813 (1994), the Harper Companies sought judicial review of a Tax Commission decision under a statute allowing judicial review, provided the review was sought within thirty days of a final decision. Id. at 815; see 63-46b-14(3)(a). Before seeking judicial review, however, the Harper Companies filed a petition for reconsideration pursuant to statute with the Tax Commission on May 4, 1992. Harper Investments, 868 P.2d at 815; see 63-46b-13(1)(a); see also 63-46b-1(9). In spite of the fact that the relevant statute provided that petitions for reconsideration were "considered to be denied" if the Tax Commission did not respond within twenty days, see 63-46b-13(3)(b), the Tax Commission denied the petition on June 3, 1992, more than twenty days later. Harper Investments, 868 P.2d at 815. The Harper Companies sought judicial review on July 1, 1992. Id. The Tax Commission argued that "the thirty-day period for seeking judicial review began to run on May 25, 1992, twenty days from the day on which the Harper Companies petitioned for reconsideration." Id. In holding that the Harper Companies' petition was timely, the Court explained: "When the Harper Companies chose not to file their petition for review within the twenty-day period, they assumed the risk that there would be no order from the Commission. They would have missed the deadline if the Commission had never issued its final decision of June 3, 1992. However, because the Commission chose to consider the petition for reconsideration and to act on it by issuing an order, the period for seeking review did not begin to run until the date of that final opinion. As a result, once the order was issued, the Harper Companies had an additional thirty days to file, and they did so." Id. at 816.