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Monday, October 7, 2013

Johnston: The Importance of State Tax Tribunals

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)David Cay Johnston (Syracuse), The Importance of Tax Tribunals, 70 State Tax Notes 35 (Oct. 7, 2013):

David Cay Johnston discusses the importance of state tax tribunals and fair administration of justice in tax disputes.

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Comments

Interesting, I had never thought of things this way. It’s much appreciated, too, the proper administration of justice is a core government function and it seems like our stewards and writers ignore it for shinier and more profitable distractions. A couple of random thoughts:

Californians can appeal income and sales/use tax decisions to the state Board of Equalization, which also operates county appeals boards for property tax. Their published rulings are commonly consulted for guidance.

A tax tribunal may distill expertise, but it’d probably create a unique set of procedures concerning deadlines, hearings, discovery, filings, evidence, etc. There’s something to be said for litigating all of a citizens’ claims under one set of rules.

Not just retired tax authorities, but tax practitioners should be recruited to adjudicate. Practitioners have a good nose to sniff out honest mistakes, rank cheating, and impossible to follow legislative debacles (i.e., domestic production credit).

Adding layers of adjudication allows the government (with unlimited resources and dedicated professionals) to grind citizens of limited resources and competing obligations, as suggested by the CPA quoted in the article. “One bite at the apple” limits are important and should extend beyond small claims.

Posted by: Yo Gabba Gabba | Oct 7, 2013 4:07:14 PM