James Szenasi



On December 10, 2014, the Department issued three assessments to the Taxpayer for gross receipts tax, penalty and interest for the tax periods of January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009, January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, and January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.  The Taxpayer filed a protest to the assessments.  In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Taxpayer was providing services in New Mexico by teaching courses at federal facilities in Los Alamos and Albuquerque.  The Taxpayer contracted with two companies to provide course instruction in New Mexico and other areas, who resold his services to the federal government.  The companies were collecting and paying gross receipts tax on the services.  In 2014, the Department selected the Taxpayer for audit.  The Department sent the Taxpayer a letter advising of the audit and giving the Taxpayer 60 days to obtain an applicable nontaxable transaction certificates (NTTCs).  The letter indicated that the deadline for obtaining the NTTCs was August 26, 2014.  On June 23, 2014, the Taxpayer left his home in Arizona with plans to travel for the next several weeks and return home within 30 days.  Before leaving home, the Taxpayer contacted his local post office to see about forwarding his mail.  He was advised that they would not forward mail for a period of less than 30 days, so instead the Taxpayer placed a hold on his mail.  Toward the end of July 2014, the Taxpayer was called upon to take over instruction on a course in Washington DC that was scheduled to begin in early August.  The Taxpayer did not return home until the evening of August 25, 2014.  On August 26, 2014, the Taxpayer collected his mail and received the letter from the Department.  The Taxpayer immediately contacted the Department, as well as the two companies from whom he needed NTTCs.  The Taxpayer obtained NTTCs from the companies on September 3 and 5, 2014.  The Department rejected the NTTCs because they were not obtained by August 26, 2014, and assessed the Taxpayer.  It is undisputed that the Taxpayer’s receipts would be deductible if the NTTCs were allowed.  It was also undisputed that the NTTCs would cover the totality of the assessments.  The Department was unable to show definitive proof of when the letter was mailed.  The Taxpayer was able to provide documentation to show that he was away from home from June 23, 2014 to August 26, 2014.  The Hearing Officer found that the Taxpayer acted immediately and expediently to obtain the proper NTTCs when he received the Department’s letter, and was not negligent or willfully tardy.  The Taxpayer obtained the necessary NTTCs within 60 days of receiving the Department’s notice, and was entitled to deduct his gross receipts.  The Taxpayer’s protest was granted.