STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Wisconsin,
Filed February 2, 1999
Washington County District Court
File No. C7-97-3904
Kirk D. Almendinger, c/o 9700 235th St. N., Forest Lake, MN 55025 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Foley, Judge.
This is an appeal from the district court's denial of a motion to vacate a foreign judgment docketed in Washington County pursuant to Minnesota's Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Because appellant has failed to establish a valid ground upon which to attack a foreign judgment, we affirm.
Kirk Almendinger appeals the denial of his motion to vacate a judgment docketed August 17, 1997, after a certified copy of a Wisconsin judgment for tax delinquency was filed with the Washington County District Court. In 1991, Almendinger filed a Wisconsin tax return showing over $80,000 of income subject to Wisconsin income tax. The next year, Almendinger failed to file a Wisconsin return. In November 1993, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (revenue) asked Almendinger to file a return for 1992, but he did not do so. In January 1994, revenue again asked Almendinger to file a 1992 return, but Almendinger failed to do so.
Revenue then estimated Almendinger's tax and sent a notice of the assessment along with a brochure describing the appellate procedures available to him. The brochure also informed Almendinger that if he did not pursue an appeal within 60 days the tax determination would become final. Almendinger did not appeal.
When the appeal period expired, a delinquent tax warrant was filed with the Polk County Sheriff who was unable to levy on sufficient property to satisfy the delinquent tax. The sheriff then filed the warrant with the Wisconsin circuit court. Once a warrant is filed with the circuit court, Wisconsin law provides that the warrant shall have the same effect as a judgment.
The State of Wisconsin then obtained representation in Minnesota and had the judgment docketed in Washington County on August 17, 1997. In January 1998, Almendinger brought a pro se motion to vacate the judgment entered in Washington County.
At the hearing on Almendinger's motion to vacate, Almendinger stated that he did not feel he was provided adequate due process because he did not have a hearing before the judgment was docketed in Wisconsin. Because that issue had not been raised in Almendinger's filings, the district court allowed each side to submit supplemental memoranda. The court then issued its order denying Almendinger's motion.
The Minnesota Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA) provides that a certified copy of a foreign judgment properly docketed in the district court administrator's office should be treated in the same manner as a judgment from a court of this state. Minn. Stat. § 548.27 (1998). But, when a district court is considering a motion to vacate a foreign judgment, the power of the court to reopen or vacate the judgment is more limited than under the rules of civil procedure because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. See Matson v. Matson, 333 N.W.2d 862, 867 (Minn. 1983) (noting that UEFJA's purpose is to implement the Full Faith and Credit Clause and facilitate interstate enforcement of judgments).
After a foreign judgement has been duly filed, the grounds for reopening or vacating it are limited to lack of personal or subject matter jurisdiction of the rendering court, fraud in the procurement (extrinsic), satisfaction, lack of due process, or other grounds that make a judgment invalid or unenforceable. The nature and amount or other aspects of the merits (i.e., defenses) of a foreign judgment cannot be relitigated in the state in which enforcement is sought.Id.
Almendinger alleged that he was denied procedural due process. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue sent Almendinger a request asking him to file a tax return for the year 1992. When he did not respond they sent another request, again asking him to file a 1992 return and indicating that if he did not do so his tax liability would be estimated and assessed to him. In April 1994, after Almendinger again failed to file a return, an estimate was figured and he was sent a notice of assessment as provided for by statute. See Wis. Stat. § 71.74 (1995). Revenue also sent a brochure describing the procedure by which a person who does not agree with revenue's assessment may appeal. The brochure explained that Wisconsin law allows a taxpayer to file an appeal with the Revenue Department's Appellate Bureau within 60 days of receiving the notice of assessment and petition the department for a redetermination if the taxpayer is unhappy with the bureau's initial determination. See Wis. Stat. § 71.88(1), (2) (1995). If the taxpayer still is unsatisfied with the appellate decision, the taxpayer may appeal to the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission. See Wis. Stat. § 71.88(2) (1995). Within 30 days of receiving the final decision of the Appeals Commission, a taxpayer may appeal to the circuit court. The circuit court's decision may be appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and finally the taxpayer may appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
We conclude that Wisconsin's procedure adequately protects an individual's right to due process by allowing for five levels of appellate review. Almendinger admitted he received notice of the assessment and the appellate procedure available to him. Because he chose not to appeal, the revenue assessment became final. See Wis. Stat. § 71.88(1)(b). Almendinger has failed to establish a valid ground upon which he may attack the foreign judgment. 
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 Although we do not purport to rule on the validity of Wisconsin's income tax scheme, we point out that challenges like Almendinger's have been rejected by the Supreme Court and other courts. See Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192, 111 S. Ct. 604 (1991); United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S. Ct. 607 (1927); Kasey v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 457 F.2d 369, 370 (9th Cir. 1972) (stating that argument that income taxes violate thirteenth amendment is meritless and does not take into consideration the passage of the sixteenth amendment specifically authorizing income taxes).