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Cimarron Oilfield Service



The Taxpayer is in the business of providing oilfield services. The Taxpayer’s office manager filed regular returns to report fuel taxes due to New Mexico, which are administered pursuant to the terms of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). The office manager was not familiar with the pertinent tax laws and regulations.  Nonetheless, he failed to read the instructions provided by the Department, consult with a qualified tax professional or call the Department to inquire about the specific deductions he claimed on behalf of the Taxpayer. Due to his lack of knowledge concerning applicable reporting requirements, the office manager made various errors on the Taxpayer’s returns. As a result, the Taxpayer was assessed by the Department for underreported IFTA taxes plus interest. No penalty was assessed. The Taxpayer protested the assessment making the following arguments: 1) the Department failed to provide adequate training and instruction to taxpayers concerning the IFTA program, and 2) the Department’s disparate treatment of taxpayers who received erroneous refunds should estop the Department from enforcing collection of the assessment. Held: The Department is not estopped from enforcing collection of the assessment against the Taxpayer because there was no false representation or concealment of material facts. The fact that the Taxpayer was assessed tax while other taxpayers in the same circumstances escaped taxation does not provide a basis for abating the assessment in the absence of any intentional discrimination against the Taxpayer. Protest denied.