An Act to Expedite Administrative Tax Appeals and Promote Access to Justice

Hearings on Appeals

The primary purpose of the Act is to shorten the increasing period of time between filing and administrative appeal with the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) and the administrative hearing. The Act makes the following changes in procedure:

  • The Act required DFA to promptly deliver all tax protests filed with the Department to the Office of Hearings and Appeals for docketing and scheduling. In the past, protests were first assigned to a DFA attorney and the timing of any further action depended on the attorney's schedule.
  • If it is not possible for the hearing officer to hold a hearing and issue a decision within 180 days after the protest is filed for reasons beyond the taxpayer's control, all interest will automatically be waived from the date of filing the protest until the date of final assessment.

Director Review

Under present law, the Director of DFA also has the authority to reverse hearing decisions and there has been no time limit on such action.

  • The Act required the Director to act on requests for revision within 60 days after a request for revision is filed, by either the taxpayer or Revenue Legal Counsel.
  • The Act also authorizes the Director to hold supplemental proceedings on a request for revision.

Judicial Review

Finally, the Act provides that a taxpayer may be awarded reasonable attorney fees if the Director reverses a hearing decision, a court reverses the action of the Director, and the court finds the Director's revision was without a reasonable basis in law and fact.

Effective Date

The Act is effective 90 days after adjournment, July 26, 2011.