Slapfish Restaurant



On July 18, 2019, and then again on July 29, 2019, the Department assessed the Taxpayer for gross receipts tax penalty for periods in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The Taxpayer later submitted a timely protest of the penalty. During the periods at issue, the Taxpayer made gross receipts tax payments but did not file the required tax returns because, she explained, she was not prompted to file the returns by the Department’s online filing system. Because of this, the Taxpayer argued that the Department’s website was misleading and therefore that she was not negligent and should not owe penalty. However, the payment only option on the website does inform taxpayers that submitting a payment does not constitute the filing of the tax return. The website, though, did not informed the Taxpayer that the payments that were submitted were held in suspension awaiting a return, nor did the website inform her that the returns were late. But the Hearing Officer determined that this was not support that the website had misled the Taxpayer of the fact that the returns were required to be filed and did not provide the proof of non-negligence required by regulation in order to abate penalty. The evidence presented also suggested that the Taxpayer did not seek advice from a Department employee on how to use the website or that she sought help filing the returns from an accountant. Since there was no support that the Taxpayer was not negligent, the Hearing office denied the request to have the penalty abated.