PA Board of Finance and Revenue Reconstituted as Independent Tax Tribunal

by McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
Contact

Effective April 1, 2014, Pennsylvania’s Board of Finance and Revenue will be reconstituted with independent voting members and other improved procedures. (HB 465) This is a change we and many other practitioners, as well as the business community at-large, have sought for many years.

Independent Board Members
The primary objection to the current make-up of the Board has been the participation by the Secretary of Revenue or his designee as a member of the Board. Together with participation by the Auditor General (or designee), whose office also participates in the pre-assessment review of many tax returns, this has given many the impression that the decisions of the Board have not been truly independent. This impression has not been cured by the participation of the State Treasurer, Attorney General, Governor’s General Counsel and Secretary of the Commonwealth (or their designees) as members of the Board.

Effective April 1st, there will be three members of the Board. Two will be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate - one initially serving a Four-year term and one serving a six-year term, with all subsequent terms being six years. The State Treasurer or the Treasurer’s designee will fill the third seat. The two gubernatorial appointees and the Treasurer’s designee will be required to meet the following requirements:

  • Citizen of US and Pennsylvania Resident
  • Attorney or CPA qualified in Pennsylvania
  • At least ten years experience in a position requiring substantial knowledge of Pennsylvania tax law
  • Devote full time to Board duties

Appointed members will serve until their successor is qualified; they may be renominated.

Representation Before the Board

Taxpayers may be represented before the Board by themselves, by an attorney, by an accountant, or by another representative so long as the representation does not constitute the unauthorized practice of law. Both the taxpayer and the Department of Revenue will have the right to be represented before the Board.

Ex parte communications with Board members or staff on the merits of a case will no longer be permitted. A party submitting information or documentation to the Board will also be required to serve the other party.

Public Hearings and Published Decisions
Hearings of the Board, as at present, will be open to the public unless an executive session is necessary to protect a lawful privilege or confidentiality. Decisions of the Board, including dissenting opinions, will be published (after deletion of certain confidential information) on a publicly accessible Internet website.

Appeals to Court
As at present, appeals from decisions of the Board will be taken to the Commonwealth Court and will be heard de novo (i.e., no formal record will be made before the Board and new evidence may be presented on appeal to court).

New Compromise Authority
HB 465 instructs the Board to establish procedures to facilitate compromise of cases before the Board. The statute does not detail how this process is to work.

Our View
We view the establishment of a truly independent Board as a very significant and positive development. We will withhold judgment on the compromise process at this level until we see how the process is implemented - this could be a very useful, cost-saving tool for all, or it could end up just being window dressing to satisfy a check-box on a survey of best appeal practices. The publication of decisions will be useful, but publishing all decisions in an online database risks the evolution of a bloated database filled with many marginally useful records. And, as attorneys, we wonder how a non-attorney CPA member of the Board can be expected to appropriately adjudicate cases turning on complicated and often close legal issues. On the whole, however, this is the most positive development in the Pennsylvania tax appeals process the author of this article has witnessed in more than 30 years of experience with the Department of Revenue’s Board of Appeals and in private practice. We look forward to helping to make this work for the benefit of Pennsylvania taxpayers! 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
Contact
more
less

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!