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Who decides a taxpayer’s protest?

If a protest cannot be resolved informally, the case is assigned to a hearing officer for formal hearing. The hearing officer listens to the facts and legal arguments presented by the taxpayer and the Department’s attorney and decides whether the assessment, denial of refund, or other action taken by the Department is supported by New Mexico law. The hearing officer is required to apply the state’s tax laws as written by the New Mexico Legislature and does not have the authority to change those laws or excuse taxpayers from their legal liability for taxes (including penalty and interest) owed to the state. The fact that a taxpayer is unable to pay an assessment or believes the law supporting the Department’s action is unfair does not provide a basis for granting the taxpayer’s protest.

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