Skip to Content

Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — No. SCAP-15-0000861

No. SCAP-15-0000861, Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 8:45 a.m.

COMPUSA STORES L.P., Appellant-Appellant, vs. STATE OF HAWAI I, DEPATMENT OF TAXATION, Appellee-Appellee.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorneys for Appellant:

Christopher J. Muzzi and Leila M. Rothwell Sullivan

Attorney for Appellee:

Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry, First Deputy Solicitor General

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 06/06/16.

COURT: MER, C.J., PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Petitioner/Appellant CompUSA Stores, L.P. (CompUSA) appeals the Tax Appeal Court’s October 6, 2015 judgment in favor of the State of Hawai i, Department of Taxation.

This case arises out of the Department of Taxation’s denial of CompUSA’s requested refund of several years of “use tax” payments. CompUSA owned and operated two retail stores in Hawai i, where it resold products purchased from third party vendors outside of Hawai i. Pursuant to HRS § 238-2, CompUSA paid a use tax on these goods in the amount of $385,855.68 in 2006, $323,628.50 in 2007, and $42,045.78 in 2008.

CompUSA appealed the Department of Taxation’s final use tax assessment to the Tax Appeal Court, alleging that HRS § 238-2 violates the Commerce Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Tax Appeal Court granted the Director of Taxation’s motion for summary judgment and denied CompUSA’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that HRS § 238-2 does not violate the Commerce Clause or the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. CompUSA appealed the Tax Appeal Court’s judgment to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and this court subsequently granted CompuUSA’s application to transfer the appeal.

CompUSA’s appeal presents the following points of error:

1. The Tax Appeal Court erred as a matter of law when it did not grant Taxpayer’s Motion for Summary Judgment because there were no genuine issues of material fact and taxpayer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, inasmuch as (a) HRS § 238-2 violates the Commerce Clause; and/or (b) HRS § 238-2 violates the Equal Protection Clause.

2. The Tax Appeal Court erred when it granted Director’s Motion for Summary Judgment because HRS § 238-2 violates the Equal Protection Clause.