On September 22, 2016, the Department issued a Notice of Assessment of Taxes and a Demand for Payment letter to the Taxpayer. The Taxpayer denied ever receiving the notice and therefore never protested the assessment. On January 5, 2017, the Department issued a Notice of Intent to Lien. The Taxpayer executed a timely formal protest referencing the Notice of Intent to Lien. On March 2, 2017, the Department acknowledged the Taxpayer’s protest. The issue the Taxpayer presented in this protest is whether or not the Hearing Officer can make a decision based on the future conduct of the Department. At the time of the hearing, the Taxpayers counsel disclosed that the Taxpayer plans to pay the outstanding liability and then submit a claim for refund. Upon the denial of the refund, the Taxpayer would file a formal protest. The Taxpayer explained that making the payment of penalty and interest at this time would be a hardship on the current business. Therefore, the Taxpayer was requesting that the Hearing officer prohibit the Department from collecting penalty and interest on the assessment because the Taxpayer was a successor in business. The Hearing Officer determined that the assessment is not currently in protest and the Department retains its authority to determine if the assessment is incorrect and if any type of abatement is necessary. In the event that the Department chooses not to abate any portion of the assessment, then the Taxpayer retains all rights under the Tax Administration Act to seek a refund, file a protest, and have a hearing on the refund denial. The Hearing Officer untimely decided that the issue presented by Taxpayer is not ripe. The Hearing Officer specified that the relief the Taxpayer was requested was based on a future Department decision that have not taken place yet and the Administrative Hearing Office Act does not grant the hearing office the authority to make decisions on future conduct. For the reason above, the Taxpayer’s protest is denied.
The Local Vapory