December 21, 1999
PLAYMATES TOYS INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF TAXATION, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam
Argued September 27, 1999
On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 316 N.J. Super. 509 (1998).
We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Division allowing the Director of the Division of Taxation to recover a refund mistakenly paid to a taxpayer after the statute of limitations had passed on the taxpayer's right to seek a refund for overpayments in prior years. We do so substantially for the reasons stated by the Appellate Division in its opinion reported at 316 N.J. Super. 509 (1998). We add only that this judgment does not confer on the Division of Taxation an unlimited inherent authority to correct and revise erroneous tax determinations once made. The powers of the Division are not boundless. Rather, given the administrative history of the Division's earlier determination (communicated to the taxpayer) that the taxpayer was not entitled to a refund because of the statute of limitations, the recovery of the funds here is more akin to the correction of a clerical error that led to the mailing of a tax refund check to which the taxpayer was not entitled , rather than the correction of an error in judgment. See Lockwood v. Walsh, 137 N.J. Eq. 445, 450 (Prerog. Ct. 1946) (implying that State Tax Commissioner possesses inherent authority to correct error of mathematical calculation).
The judgment of the Appellate Division is affirmed.
CHIEF JUSTICE PORITZ and JUSTICES O'HERN, GARIBALDI, STEIN, COLEMAN, LONG, and VERNIERO join in this PER CURIAM opinion.
SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY
NO. A-70 SEPTEMBER TERM 1998
ON APPEAL FROM
ON CERTIFICATION TO Appellate Division, Superior Court
DECIDED December 21, 1999 Chief Justice Poritz PRESIDING
OPINION BY PER CURIAM
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