Nebeker v. Utah State Tax Comm'n

In Nebeker v. Utah State Tax Comm'n, 2001 UT 74, 34 P.3d 180, the Utah State Tax Commission determined that Nebeker was deficient in payment of the Utah Special Fuel Tax and imposed a twelve percent interest rate on the amount he owed. Id. Nebeker filed suit alleging that the 12% interest rate violated the Utah Constitution. The Court explained that while "'administrative agencies do not generally determine the constitutionality of their organic legislation, . . . the mere introduction of a constitutional issue does not obviate the need for exhaustion of administrative remedies'" because the Commission's decision in the administrative proceeding could avoid and moot the constitutional issue. Id. The Court further explained that had Nebeker petitioned for a redetermination of his deficiency, the Tax Commission, pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, could have determined that the interest rate was unwarranted. If the Tax Commission agreed with Nebeker's claim, and redetermined Nebeker's taxation, the twelve percent interest rate would have been inapplicable. Id. Therefore, Nebeker could have avoided the constitutional questions if he had sought administrative review of his non-constitutional claims. Id.