In Loeffler v. Target Corp., — P.3d —-, 2014 WL 1714947 (2014), the California Supreme Court held that California’s consumer protection codes can not supplant the limitations and procedures set forth in the Revenue and Taxation Code.
Plaintiffs are consumers who contend that defendant retailer represented that it properly was charging and in fact charged them sales tax reimbursement on sales of hot coffee sold “to go,” when, according to plaintiffs, the tax code rendered such sales exempt from sales tax. They brought an action against defendant retailer under two consumer protection statutes, seeking a refund of the assertedly unlawful charges, damages, and an injunction forbidding collection of sales tax reimbursement for such sales. The trial court sustained defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that plaintiffs’ action was not authorized under the tax code and was barred by article XIII, section 32 of the California Constitution. That provision limits the manner in which taxpayers may seek a refund of taxes from the taxing entity. ¶ We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal, although our analysis differs somewhat from that court’s analysis. We conclude that the tax code provides the exclusive means by which plaintiffs’ dispute over the taxability of a retail sale may be resolved and that their current lawsuit is inconsistent with tax code procedures. As explained, the consumer protection statutes under which plaintiffs brought their action cannot be employed to avoid the limitations and procedures set out by the Revenue and Taxation Code