Tax Commission rejects utility’s $36 million refund request |

Tax Commission rejects utility’s $36 million refund request

The Nevada Tax Commission Monday rejected Southern California Edison’s request for a $36 million tax refund.

The refund was originally approved by the commission but was overturned and sent back by the Nevada Supreme Court, which ruled the tax commission violated the state open meeting law by holding the entire case behind closed doors.

That ruling overturned 20 years of practice by the commission of routinely locking out the press and public when considering taxpayer appeals. The law allowing closure of some parts of appeals is designed to protect confidential personal or business information.

Southern California Edison took the issue back to the tax commission arguing they were entitled to the refund of taxes paid on coal used to generate electricity because the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits discrimination in interstate commerce by treating instate-products differently than those brought in from out of state.

The utility burned the coal at its southern Nevada plant at Laughlin and until deciding to file for a rebate, paid sales taxes on the coal which was brought in from out of state.

The commission Monday reversed its earlier ruling and voted the utility doesn’t qualify for a rebate of the sales taxes paid. The vote was 6-2 with members John Marvel and Hank Vogler voting no.

The state originally set aside $36 million to pay the refund in case it lost in court but budget officials said with interest over the past several years, that amount had probably doubled.

Southern California Edison is expected to take the issue to court.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.