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What are a taxpayer’s responsibilities at the administrative hearing?

A taxpayer challenging the Department’s assessment, refund denial, or other action has the burden of proving that the action taken by the Department does not comply with New Mexico law.  It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to gather all documents or other evidence supporting the protest, including nontaxable transaction certificates, tax returns, invoices, bank statements, etc.  The taxpayer may need to call witnesses to testify concerning those documents or other facts of the case.  The taxpayer may also testify on his or her own behalf. The Department’s attorney may call witnesses, including the taxpayer, to establish the Department’s case.  Anyone giving factual testimony at the hearing is required to be present in person, to testify under oath or affirmation, and to answer questions from both the taxpayer and the Department’s attorney.

In addition to presenting the facts, the taxpayer is responsible for researching relevant statutes, regulations and case law and providing the hearing officer with the legal authority supporting the taxpayer’s protest.  Most of this material, including copies of the hearing officer’s decisions in similar cases, can be found on the Department’s web site (www.tax.state.nm.us).  Taxpayers must understand that the hearing officer is required to enforce the law as written by the Legislature and cannot grant a protest based on arguments that the state’s tax laws are unfair or create an undue hardship.  The taxpayer should discuss the statutes and regulations applicable to the protest with the Department’s protest auditor or attorney.  The hearing officer cannot discuss the case with either party prior to the formal hearing.

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