In the present case, we have to make sense of the fifth item, “repossessed property.” The statute clearly states that “repossessed property” is not part of a “bad debt” for purposes of a sales-tax refund. But what does “repossessed property” mean? Plaintiffs argue that it refers to the value of the repossessed property, while the Department interprets it as referring to the entire value of the account, i.e., the value of the account before the property was repossessed. If “repossessed property” refers to the value of the property, then the uncollectible amount not recouped from the sale of the property would remain a refundable “bad debt.” If it refers to the entire account attached to the property, then there would be no “bad debt” to refund. The Department’s interpretation would, in effect, impose a sales tax on consideration that later becomes worthless—it would tax uncollectible debt. This is not a reasonable reading of the text of the statute. Rather, by referencing “repossessed property,” the exclusion encompasses only what the taxpayer has collected. The text says nothing about the portion of the debt that remains uncollected, if any, after repossession. Nor does the exclusion mention the account attached to the repossessed property. Instead, it merely states “repossessed property,” which indicates that only the value of the repossessed property itself is to be excluded. This makes sense in light of the definition of “bad debt” in both our statute26 and the federal statute it relies on, each of which states that “bad debt” is a portion of a debt. Accordingly, the statutes contemplate that a debt can be divisible. Thus, by including “repossessed property,” but not the attached account, the statute indicates that only the portion of the debt related to the value of the repossessed property is excluded. . . .Finally, considering how other jurisdictions handle the present issue also supports our view. Because 23 other states are members of the SSUTA, 23 other states have bad-debt provisions similar to ours. A majority of the states that have addressed this issue have agreed with the interpretation offered above. Again, while these interpretations are not binding on our Court, they further confirm that the plain language of the provision supports interpreting “repossessed property” as the value of the repossessed property. In sum, we hold that the term “repossessed property” encompasses only what a taxpayer has collected—that is, the value of the repossessed property—it does not refer to the entire value of the account before the property was repossessed.
In Ally Financial, Inc. v. State Treasurer, State of Michigan, 2018 WL 3520302, at *6–7 (Mich., 2018), the Michigan Supreme Court found that auto finance companies properly sought tax refunds for post-repossession deficiency balances.