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Maine Board of Tax Appeals

Maine Board of Tax Appeals

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Maine Board of Tax Appeals

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  1. Maine Board of Tax Appeals

  2. What we are: • An independent Board of three individuals appointed by the Governor to resolve controversies between Taxpayers and Maine Revenue Services (“MRS”) • Supported by an Appeals Office which holds hearings, evaluates evidence and prepares recommended decisions for the Board • Set within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services

  3. Who we are: Board Members William J. Kelleher- Chair Edwin A Heisler Richard A. Nass

  4. Appeals Office Chief Appeals Officer - Robert Creamer Appeals Officers – Paul Bourget Gerard Poissonnier Administrative Assistant – Lisa Stevens

  5. Where we are: • Office located at 108 Sewall Street in Augusta (opposite the Cross office building) • Mailing Address: Maine Board of Tax Appeals 134 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0134 • Telephone: 207-287-2864

  6. Goals • To provide a fair and independent method for resolving disputes concerning assessments and determinations issued by MRS • To administer an appeals process that is accessible to unrepresented taxpayers • To be open and transparent to both taxpayers and MRS • To provide a cost and time efficient alternative to filing an appeal in Superior Court

  7. Filing an Appeal • May file after completion of the reconsideration process at MRS • Optional – May file an appeal in Superior Court or with the Board • But, to file with the Board, there must be at least $5,000 in controversy at the time reconsideration was sought • Filing requires only a simple statement of appeal

  8. Filing an Appeal • If Taxpayer wishes to have a conference, the request must be made in the statement of appeal (statutory requirement) • If a conference is requested, there is a processing fee • If no conference is requested, there is no fee

  9. Appeals Process • Board considers appeals de novo • Process governed by proposed Rule 100, Maine Board of Tax Appeals Practice and Procedure • Still in rulemaking process, but Board is open for business

  10. Appeals Process • Taxpayer has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that MRS has erred in applying or interpreting the relevant statute or facts • Both parties must make their case to the Board, • The Taxpayer will see the evidence that MRS is relying on to support the assessment • MRS will see the evidence that the Taxpayer is relying on to support the claim that MRS has made a mistake

  11. Appeals Process • After the statement of appeal is filed, the Appeals Officer assigned to the case will request that both Taxpayer and MRS submit information and evidence supporting their claims within 21 days • Copies must be sent to the opposing party • Once the Appeals Officer receives this information, he or she will request that the parties submit responses to each other’s submissions within 14 days

  12. Appeals Process • If a conference was requested, the Appeals Officer may hold a preliminary procedural conference, which may be conducted via phone. The preliminary conference is intended to: • Identify and clarify issues for the conference • Develop stipulations of fact • Identify witnesses and evidence that will be presented, so as to eliminate as mush as possible the element of surprise • Resolve disputes over the admissibility of evidence

  13. Appeals Process • At the conference, both the Taxpayer and MRS may: • Present any arguments concerning the appeal; • Have witnesses and experts testify on their behalf • Further explain the evidence they have submitted • Whether or not a conference was requested, both the Taxpayer and MRS may submit written testimony in the form of affidavits • If no conference was requested, Appeals Officer will decide case based upon the submitted written materials

  14. Appeals Process • Evidence • Not bound by the Rules of Evidence used by the Maine Courts • Standard adopted is whether evidence is of the kind upon which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs • Privileges recognized by the Maine Courts (attorney – client, etc.) are observed

  15. Appeals Process • After the conference, or, if one was not requested, after reviewing the parties’ submissions, the Appeals Officer will issue a Recommended Decision that will contain: • A clear statement of the matter that is the subject of the appeal • The date of the conference (if any) and the participants • A listing of all evidence upon which the decision is based • Findings of fact • A clear statement of result resolving all issues under consideration • An explanation of the reasoning behind the decision

  16. Appeals Process • The Recommended Decision is what the Board will consider in reaching a final decision on the appeal • The Recommended Decision will be shared with the parties prior to its delivery to the Board • The parties will have a chance to submit written comments on the Recommended Decision to the Appeals Officer • The Appeals Officer may modify his or her decision based on the parties’ comments • The parties will receive copies of the final version of the Recommended Decision when it is presented to the Board

  17. Appeals Process • The Appeals Officer will also forward to the Board the parties’ comments on the recommended decision • The parties may submit written statements of position to the Board • Either party may also request the opportunity to address the Board

  18. Appeals Process • The Board will meet to consider the Recommended Decision and decide whether to: • Uphold the Recommended Decision; • Modify the Recommended Decision; • Send the case back to the Appeals Officer for the taking of additional evidence or further consideration of the issues; or • Reject the Recommended Decision and decide the case for itself based on the record • Once the Board issues its decision, either party may request reconsideration

  19. Important Considerations • No ex parte communications • Neither Board members nor Appeals Officers may have any conversations with one party without the other one present • All communications and documents sent to Board or Appeals Office must also be sent to the opposing party • Preserves the intent behind the creation of the Board to have a transparent process for deciding tax appeals at the administrative level • Does not prevent communication about administrative matters

  20. Important Considerations • Board decisions can be appealed to Superior Court • Appeals must be filed within 60 days of receipt of the Board’s final decision • Either party may appeal • Case will be heard de novo by the Court • Although there is a “record” developed by the Appeals Office for the consideration by the Board, this record in no way limits the Court’s review of the case

  21. Important Considerations • Proceedings are not open to the public • Taxpayers do not need to be represented by an attorney • See website for a guide to bringing appeals before the Board