Alabama Denies Taxpayer Appeal Since Tax Assessment Was Not Final

A taxpayer’s Alabama sales and use tax appeal was denied since a final assessment had not been entered against the taxpayer. The county special tax board had filed a motion to dismiss the taxpayer’s appeal since the taxpayer did not respond to the tax board’s preliminary assessment. Alabama tax law does not deem a preliminary assessment a final assessment at any time but allows the Department of Revenue to enter a final assessment. The taxpayer’s appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction since no final assessment had been entered against the taxpayer. The taxpayer was not required to appeal a preliminary assessment. Per Alabama tax law, a taxpayer may but is not required to appeal a preliminary assessment. A preliminary assessment does not automatically become a final assessment. The law requires the tax board to enter a final assessment that is separate from a preliminary assessment, if it enters one at all. If the tax board enters a final assessment, the taxpayer can appeal to the Alabama Tax Tribunal or to circuit court, not to the tax board. As such, the taxpayer’s appeal was denied. This case demonstrates the need to understand state and local provisions regarding assessments and appeal rules, particularly when a home rule local authority is involved.  (GRC LLC v. Tuscaloosa County Special Tax Board, Alabama Tax Tribunal, No. 20-100-LP, September 8, 2020)

Posted on September 29, 2020