Georgia Creates Tax Tribunal

In order to resolve disputes between the Georgia Department of Revenue and taxpayers, a Georgia Tax Tribunal will be established. On or after January 1, 2013, any person may petition the tribunal for relief as set forth in revenue and taxation provisions dealing with the following: the duties of the State Board of Equalization; refunds of taxes or fees determined to have been erroneously or illegally assessed and collected; appeals from any order, ruling, or finding of the state revenue commissioner to the superior court of the county of the residence of the taxpayer; an execution for the collection of any tax, fee, license, penalty, interest, or collection costs due the state; taxation of railroad equipment companies doing business in the state; the procedure for filing a claim for a refund of erroneously or illegally collected tax; the procedure for protesting the intangible recording tax; and the right of a business taxpayer to petition the state revenue commissioner, if the allocation and apportionment provisions do not fairly represent the extent of the taxpayer’s business activity in the state, to allow separate accounting, to exclude any one or more of the apportionment factors, to include one or more additional factors that will fairly represent the taxpayer’s business activity within the state, or to employ any other method to effectuate an equitable allocation and apportionment of the taxpayer’s income. The tribunal will have jurisdiction over an action for a declaratory judgment on the validity of a rule of the state revenue commissioner that applies to taxes administered by the state revenue commissioner. Actions before the tribunal must begin by filing a petition with the tribunal and naming the state revenue commissioner as the respondent. Specific filing and response rules must be filed. The commissioner and any other respondents must file a response to the petitioner’s statement of facts and law that constitutes his or her answer with the tribunal no later than 30 days after the petition is served. If a response is not filed within the time required, the case automatically becomes in default unless the time for filing is extended by agreement of the parties for a period of up to 30 days or by the judge of the tribunal. Except in cases involving jeopardy assessments, the filing of a petition with the tribunal will operate as a stay of any enforcement or collection action by the commissioner with respect to any tax, penalty, interest, or any collection costs that are disputed in the petition until the tribunal decision is finalized. This includes appeals to the superior court or to any appellate court. The tribunal judge may lift the stay upon petition by the commissioner if good cause is shown. Within 90 days of filing a petition with the tribunal, a taxpayer can elect to give the tribunal’s small claims division jurisdiction over any proceeding with respect to which the amount of tax and penalties in controversy, excluding interest, is less than a threshold amount determined by the tribunal. A taxpayer cannot revoke the election to proceed in the small claims division after this 90 day period. The tribunal judge may on his or her own motion or on the motion of a party to the case remove a case from the small claims division for good cause. Any party may appeal a final judgment of the tribunal, except for judgments of the small claims division, to the reviewing court. Proceedings for judicial review must be instituted by filing a petition with the reviewing court within 30 days after the service of the tribunal’s final judgment or within 30 days after the decision if a rehearing is requested. (Act 609 (H.B. 100), Laws 2012, effective July 1, 2012, applicable as noted)

Posted on August 17, 2012