Court says Fla. owes ad tax refund

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The U.S. Supreme Court said Florida must repay the service taxes collected from media companies on the sale of advertising. The state government repealed the ad tax nine years ago in the face of a boycott from the advertising and media industries. The high court took the unusual step of unanimously overturning a Florida Supreme Court ruling that Newsweek wasn't entitled to the nearly $300,000 it paid because the publisher had challenged the tax after paying it rather than before paying. Newsweek contended Florida altered its usual requirement that companies pay a tax first before challenging it in what amounted to a bait and switch tactic. The high court agreed and sent the case back to Florida to determine the exact amount of Newsweek's refund.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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