By Doug Upton and Madison Barnett

The Michigan Court of Appeals held that a taxpayer was precluded from recovering sales tax it voluntary paid in response to a preliminary audit determination, even though assessment of the tax may have otherwise been barred under the four-year statute of limitations. The court reasoned that a preliminary audit determination is not an “assessment” and, as a result, the four-year statute of limitations on assessments was not triggered to bar the audit determination. Because the statute of limitations did not apply, the court declined to review whether an amendment to the statute of limitations period applied retroactively to prevent the Department from assessing tax at the time it issued its preliminary determination or to prevent the taxpayer’s resulting claim for refund. W. Soule & Co. v. Dept. of Treasury, No. 329213 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 17, 2017) (unpublished).