LINDA DUNN, individually, and as surviving spouse of BARRY DUNN, deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant,
IDAHO STATE TAX COMMISSION, Defendant-Respondent.
from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Cynthia K.C. Meyer,
judgment of the District Court is affirmed. Costs on
appeal are awarded to respondent.
Richard Kochansky, Coeur d'Alene, attorney for appellant.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, attorney for
respondent. David B. Young argued.
Nature of the Case
Dunn ("Linda") appeals from a district court's
judgment affirming the Idaho State Tax Commission's (the
"Commission") deficiency determination. The
Commission issued a deficiency against Linda after
determining that her one-half community interest in her
husband's, Barry Dunn ("Husband"), out-of-state
earnings should have been included as Idaho taxable income
for 2000-01, 2003-05, and 2007-10 (the "Taxable
Factual and Procedural Background
crux of this appeal concerns the proper tax treatment of
Linda's one-half community interest in Husband's
out-of-state earnings. The facts are uncontested. Linda was
married to Husband during the Taxable Years. During the
Taxable Years, Husband lived primarily in Texas and was
employed by a Texas offshore drilling company. All of the
earnings at issue were earned by Husband personally as a wage
earner in Texas, Alaska, or Washington and were directly
deposited into his bank account in Tomball, Texas. Husband
never worked or was domiciled in Idaho during the Taxable
Years. Throughout the Taxable Years, Linda temporarily lived
with Husband at his work location, but always returned to
Idaho to operate a horse farm. She was a resident of Idaho
for all of the Taxable Years. Linda and Husband's tax
filing status was "married filing jointly."
April 13, 2012, the Commission issued a Notice of Deficiency
Determination. The Commission's deficiency was only
addressed to income attributed to Linda. Linda appealed the
decision to the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals, and the Board
affirmed the Commission's decision. On May 11, 2015,
Linda petitioned a district court for review of the
8, 2016, the district court issued a memorandum decision and
order affirming the Commission's decision wherein it held
that: (1) Linda owned a one-half undivided interest in the
Texas earnings of Husband, and, because she was domiciled in
Idaho at the time she acquired the interest in Husband's
wages, her interest was subject to the tax laws of Idaho; (2)
Linda owned a vested interest in the community property wages
earned by Husband in Washington, which were subject to
taxation under the laws of Idaho as the domicile of Linda;
and (3) Idaho's personal income tax scheme did not
violate the dormant Commerce Clause or the Privileges and
Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution because
Linda failed to show a substantial effect on an identifiable
interstate economic activity or market. The district court
denied the Commission's request for costs and attorney
fees because, although Linda's argument was ultimately
failing, it was not devoid of merit. A corresponding judgment
was issued on August 3, 2016.
Issues on Appeal
Did the district court err by holding that there were no
Did the district court err by holding that Linda's
one-half community interest in Husband's wages was
subject to the tax laws of Idaho?
Standard of Review
A taxpayer may appeal a determination by the Commission by
filing a complaint against the Commission in district court.
I.C. § 63-3049. The case is to proceed as a de
novo bench trial. I.C. § 63-3049; cf. I.C.
§ 63-3812(c). A deficiency determination issued by the
Commission is presumed to be correct, and the burden is on
the taxpayer to show that the Commission's decision is
erroneous. Albertson's Inc. v. State Dep't of
Revenue, 106 Idaho 810, 814, 683 P.2d 846, 850 (1984).
Parker v. Idaho State Tax Comm'n, 148 Idaho 842,
845, 230 P.3d 734, 737 (2010) (footnote omitted).
constitutional questions are purely questions of law, they
are . . . reviewed de novo." V-1 Oil Co. v.
Idaho State Tax Com'n, 134 Idaho 716, 718, 9 P.3d
519, 521 (2000) (citing Idaho State Ins. Fund v. Van
Tine, 132 Idaho 902, 905-906, 980 P.2d 566, 569- 570
her briefing, Linda focuses solely on Husband's Texas
earnings and Texas law. She does not proffer an argument
related to Husband's Washington earnings or Washington
law. "We will not consider an issue not 'supported
by argument and authority in the opening brief.'"
Bach v. Bagley, 148 Idaho 784, 790, 229 P.3d 1146,
1152 (2010) (quoting Jorgensen v. Coppedge, 145
Idaho 524, 528, 181 P.3d 450, 454 (2008)). Accordingly, we
only consider Linda's appeal as it relates to her
one-half community interest in Husband's Texas earnings.
The district court correctly held that there were no