Michael Corwin



On April 20, 2016, the Department assessed Corwin Research and Investigations, LLC, the business of the Taxpayer for gross receipts tax, penalty, and interest for periods from 2010 to 2012. On September 1, 2017, the Department issued another assessment for periods from 2013 to 2014, and on June 25, 2018, the Department then issued another assessment for periods in 2015. The Department also sent a series of additional assessments in June and July of that same year. On September 24, 2018, the Department received the Taxpayer’s protest of all of these assessments and on October 2, 2018, the Department denied the protests. Though the Department eventually abated some of the recent assessments, and the Taxpayer amended other periods that negated the liabilities, the central question of this protest was whether the Taxpayer was entitled to also protest the earlier assessments that were well over the time limit specified in statute. Section 7-1-24 NMSA 1978 states that a written protest shall be filed within 90 days of the date of the mailing of the assessment to the Taxpayer. In 2016, the Taxpayer had been informed by a Department auditor while discussing his audit case that, though he had objections to the audit, he was to receive an assessment and was told of his protest rights. The next time the Department received any communication from the Taxpayer was six months later when, in conversation with another auditor, the Taxpayer explained he had misplaced the assessment. Nine months later, the Taxpayer exchanged emails with another auditor concerning the second audit case and was informed of the assessment liability and of the right to protest. The 90 days after this assessment also expired without any communication from the Taxpayer. In a similar conversation with another auditor in 2018, the Taxpayer stated that his attention to protest the earlier assessments should have been obvious to the Department, but there was nothing ever received from the Taxpayer that could be construed as a written protest 90 days after the actual assessment had occurred. The Hearing Officer concluded that, though the Taxpayer may have conveyed to the auditors that he disagreed with the findings of the audit, it was not reasonable for him to assume that this would preserve his right to protest beyond the statutory limit. The Taxpayer’s earlier email communications prior to submitting his eventual written protest do not constitute timely or valid protests under statute. This having been decided, the Hearing Officer ordered the protest denied.