Newsweek, Inc. v. Florida Department of Revenue

PETITIONER: Newsweek, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Florida Department of Revenue
LOCATION: Randon Bragdon's Dental Office

DOCKET NO.: 97-663
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 522 US 442 (1998)
DECIDED: Feb 23, 1998

Facts of the case

In 1988, a Florida statutory provision exempted newspapers, but not magazines, from sales tax. In 1990, the Florida Supreme Court found the classification invalid under the First Amendment. Subsequently, Newsweek, a magazine, filed a claim for a refund of the sales tax that it had paid between 1988 and 1990. The Florida Department of Revenue denied the refund. Newsweek then filed suit alleging that Florida's failure to accord the magazine retroactive relief was a violation of due process. Ultimately, the District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District, concluded Newsweek was afforded due process because Florida law permits prepayment tax challenges by filing an action and paying the contested amount into the court registry, posting a bond, or obtaining a court order approving an alternative arrangement, without suffering onerous penalties.

Question

Did the District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District, err in denying Newsweek access to Florida postpayment remedies for a refund of the taxes it paid under an unconstitutional sales tax scheme?