On April 7, 2017, the Department denied three different applications from the Taxpayer for the High-Wage Jobs Tax Credit, covering periods from 2012 through 2016 and each claiming credits in amounts over one million dollars. The sole reason for the denials provided by the Department was that the claims were untimely. On July 3, 2017, the Taxpayer executed a protest of the denials. The key question in the protest was which law, the 2013 High-Wage Jobs Tax Credit Act or the 2016 amended version of the law should be followed in determining whether these applications were filed timely. The 2013 law stated that the credit could be claimed no later than one year from the end of the calendar year in which the final period closed, and therefore permitted the Taxpayer’s application through the end of 2017. The change made in 2016 established new deadlines for submissions, requiring that they be made annually for all qualifying periods that closed during the calendar year for which the application was made. But the Hearing Officer concluded that if the new law was followed in this way with these applications the rules would have changed retroactively when the clear intent of the legislature was creating requirements for future applications. If the earlier law was followed, the Taxpayer’s application would be eligible. The Department then argued that the Taxpayer was ineligible because it was incorporated in another state. But as he had concluded in D&O 18-33, the Hearing Officer said the Department was misreading Section 7-9G-1 (B) NMSA 1978 which states “The purpose of the high-wage jobs tax credit is to provide an incentive for urban and rural businesses to create and fill new high-wage jobs in New Mexico.” As the Hearing Officer made clear in the earlier D&O, this serves only as an explanation of the credit’s purpose and not a restriction on where the business should be located. The Department also argued that the Taxpayer lacked evidence to establish its headcount was increasing from year-to-year, but the Hearing Officer said this too should follow the 2013 law that does not measure headcount against the immediately adjacent period. For all the foregoing reasons, the Hearing Officer ordered the protest granted and allowed the credits to be approved.