In the Matter of the Appeal of Reeve Cattle Co., Inc. for the Year 2013 and 2014 in Finney County, Kansas.
burden of proving the invalidity of a Board of Tax
Appeal's (BOTA) action is on the party asserting its
invalidity. The general rule is that statutes imposing a tax
must be interpreted strictly in favor of the taxpayer.
However, tax exemption statutes are interpreted strictly in
favor of imposing the tax and against allowing an exemption
for one who does not clearly qualify.
appellate court is not required to defer to BOTA's
interpretation of a tax statute.
most fundamental rule of statutory construction is that the
intent of the legislature governs if that intent can be
ascertained. An appellate court must first attempt to
ascertain legislative intent through the statutory language
enacted, giving common words their ordinary meaning.
a statute is plain and unambiguous, an appellate court should
not speculate about the legislative intent behind that clear
language, and it should refrain from reading something into
the statute that is not readily found in its words. Where
there is no ambiguity, the court need not resort to statutory
construction. Only if the statute's language or text is
unclear or ambiguous does the court use canons of
construction or legislative history to construe the
Under the facts of this case, BOTA did not err in finding
that the taxpayer's mixer-feeder trucks are exempt from
taxation as farm machinery and equipment under K.S.A. 2015
from Board of Tax Appeals. Affirmed.
Michael A. Montoya, of Michael A. Montoya, P.A., of Salina,
for appellant Board of County Commissioners of Finney County.
Lucky DeFries and Jeffrey A. Wietharn, of Coffman, DeFries
& Nothern, a Professional Association, of Topeka, for
appellee Reeve Cattle Co., Inc.
A. Stewart, associate counsel, of The Kansas Livestock
Association, Terry Holdren, CEO/general counsel, of The
Kansas Farm Bureau, and Randy Stookey, general counsel, vice
president, of The Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association,
Jeffrey A. Chanay, chief deputy attorney general, Dwight R.
Carswell and Bryan C. Clark, assistant solicitors general,
Derek Schmidt, attorney general, and Wendee Grady, of Kansas
Department of Agriculture, for amicus curiae Kansas
Department of Agriculture.
McAnany, P.J., Malone, J., and Stutzman, S.J.
an appeal from a decision of the State Board of Tax Appeals
(BOTA) addressing whether certain personal property owned by
Reeve Cattle Company, Inc. (Reeve Cattle) is exempt from
taxation. The property at issue is the cab and chassis of
several mixer-feeder trucks which are used to mix cattle feed
ingredients and haul the feed to cattle within the feedlot.
BOTA determined the mixer-feeder trucks are exempt from
taxation under the farm machinery and equipment exemption at
K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 79-201j. The Board of County Commissioners
of Finney County (the County) appeals, arguing that the
mixer-feeder trucks are not exempt because they are trucks,