Pierce Atwood State and Local Tax Group
Important Changes to Maine’s Administrative Tax Appeal Process
Governor LePage has signed into law LD 1371 (P.L. Ch. 439), An Act To Promote Fair and Efficient Resolutions in Tax Disputes, which makes several significant reforms in the way Maine Revenue Services deals with Taxpayers. http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/chapters/PUBLIC439.asp
The major goals of the law are to make the process of appealing a tax assessment more fair and less burdensome for taxpayers at the administrative level, and to create a more robust Taxpayer Advocate to assist taxpayers who are dealing with issues at Maine Revenue Services. This legislation was designed, drafted and promoted by Pierce Atwood. The bill was strongly supported by both the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. It will be effective on July 1, 2012.
This Act eliminates Maine Revenue Services’ (“MRS’”) existing appeals office which reports to the State Tax Assessor and replaces it with an Independent Appeals Office, led by a Chief Appeals Officer who will be hired by the Commissioner of Administrative and Financial Services. The Chief Appeals Officer will be required to exercise independent judgment when ruling on an appeal. To help maintain this independence, the Chief Appeals Officer and any subordinate appeals officers will not be permitted to have any ex parte communications with either MRS or the taxpayer. Appellate decisions will no longer require approvals of the division that issued the assessment and other Maine Revenue officials before being issued. Another change is the creation of a 90 day period beginning when a taxpayer files a request for reconsideration (the appeal) before the Independent Appeals Office will consider the request. During this time, the MRS division that issued the assessment and the taxpayer are encouraged to resolve issues the taxpayer has raised through informal discussion and settlement negotiations.
LD 1371 also creates the office of the Maine Taxpayer Advocate, who will be selected by the Commissioner of Administrative and Financial Services and who will have the authority to help taxpayers with problems they may have with Maine Revenue Services. The Advocate is empowered to investigate taxpayer complaints and make recommendations to the State Tax Assessor with respect to those complaints. The Advocate is also required to submit an annual report to the Governor and Legislature concerning any systemic problems Maine Revenue Services may have in dealing with taxpayers.
LD 1371 was sponsored by Representative L. Gary Knight, co-chair of the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Taxation.
For more information about this new legislation, please contact:
Jonathan Block email@example.com
Robert Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Beard email@example.com