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Tax Appeals

Frequently Asked Questions

General
Hearings
Small Claims
Submissions

How do I begin a case?

A case is commenced by filing a petition. The Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Tax Appeals Tribunal provide detailed instructions concerning the preparation and filing of a petition. A petition form (TA-10) is available on this web site or may be obtained by writing to the Division of Tax Appeals, Agency Building 1, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223 or by calling us at (518) 266-3000.

How do I get a copy of the Rules of Practice and Procedure?

The Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Tax Appeals Tribunal may be viewed on this web site and downloaded if desired. A copy may also be obtained by writing to the Division of Tax Appeals, Agency Building 1, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223 or by calling us at (518) 266-3000.

What is the procedure for filing a petition?

The petition and two conformed copies should be typewritten, if possible, and should be filed with the supervising administrative law judge by mail addressed to: Supervising Administrative Law Judge, Division of Tax Appeals, Agency Building 1, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223 or hand-delivered to our offices in Albany.

When should I file my petition?

The petition must be filed within the time limitations prescribed by the Tax Law, and there can be no extension of those time limitations. For example, petitions which dispute a notice of deficiency of personal income tax or a notice of determination of sales and use tax must be filed no later than 90 days (150 days if the notice is addressed to a person outside the United States) after the date the notice was mailed. For petitions relating to licensing and other matters, relevant statutory provisions should be consulted.

What should I attach to my petition?

The notice of determination/deficiency (or other document issued by the Division of Taxation which is the basis for jurisdiction) should be attached to the petition. A power of attorney, if you have appointed a representative to appear for you, and, if a conciliation conference was held, the conciliation order should be attached to the petition. Documents in the nature of evidence should NOT be attached to the petition. You will have the opportunity to submit such documents at a later time.

How do I know if you received my petition?

Usually within 2 weeks of the filing of a petition, the Division of Tax Appeals will send a letter to the taxpayer acknowledging receipt of the petition, assigning the petition a DTA number and advising the taxpayer whether or not the petition is in the proper form.

Is there a filing fee or other charge to begin a case?

There are no fees or charges to file a petition with the Division of Tax Appeals.

Who can represent a taxpayer at a hearing?

For proceedings before the Tribunal and administrative law judges, see the Tribunal's Rules of Practice and Procedure at 3000.2(a). For small claims proceedings, see 3000.2(b).

Where are hearings before administrative law judges and small claims hearings held?

Hearings before administrative law judges are generally held in New York City and Albany. Upon request, we will try to schedule hearings before administrative law judges in the larger cities located throughout New York State, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and on Long Island. Small claims hearings are held in the preceding locations as well as in Rye Brook and Binghamton.

What recourse do I have if I am dissatisfied with the determination of the administrative law judge?

Either party may appeal the determination of the administrative law judge by filing an exception to the determination with the Tax Appeals Tribunal. However, the exception must be filed within the time prescribed by the Tax Law.

Is there a form for filing an exception?

A notice of exception form (TA-14) is available on this web site or may be obtained by writing to the Division of Tax Appeals, Agency Building 1, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223 or by calling us at (518) 266-3000.

 

Can I have a pre-hearing conference with an administrative law judge?

The parties have the option of requesting a pre-hearing conference with an administrative law judge prior to the date of their hearing. The purpose of the pre-hearing conference is to provide the parties with the opportunity to narrow the issues for the hearing, stipulate to those facts which are not controverted, simplify the presentation of evidence at the hearing and possibly resolve the case, in whole or in part, without the necessity of a hearing. Pre-hearing conferences are usually initiated by the Division of Tax Appeals and are conducted by means of telephone conferences.

What can I expect at a hearing before an administrative law judge?

At the hearing, both parties will be asked to state the issues to be resolved by the administrative law judge and are permitted to make brief opening statements. Both parties will then be given the opportunity to present evidence in support of their positions. The administrative law judge may vary the order in which evidence is presented by the parties depending on the issues involved.

Witnesses testify under oath and are subject to cross-examination.

The parties are also given an opportunity to make a brief closing argument on the law and facts and may also request time to file a memorandum of law.

Does the administrative law judge know anything about the case before the hearing?

Other than the pleadings, which include the petition and answer and sometimes a reply, motion papers, bills of particulars and hearing memoranda (form TA-2 available on this web site), the administrative law judge has no other knowledge of the facts or issues in the case.

Can witnesses be subpoenaed to appear and testify at the hearing before the administrative law judge?

Attorneys representing any party in a proceeding may issue subpoenas requiring witnesses to appear and testify at the hearing pursuant to the Civil Practice Law and Rules. In addition, upon the request of any party, the administrative law judge assigned to the case may issue subpoenas to require the attendance of witnesses or to require the production of documentary evidence at a hearing subject to certain conditions as outlined in the Rules of Practice and Procedure promulgated by the Tax Appeals Tribunal.

Can I use photocopies of original documents?

Original documents are preferred, but readable photocopies may be substituted where necessary. Three copies of each exhibit, in addition to the original, should always be prepared prior to hearing.

Can I communicate with the administrative law judge assigned to the case?

Any party may seek clarification of procedural matters, either verbally or in writing, by directing questions to the supervising administrative law judge. In order to communicate orally with the administrative law judge assigned to the case in connection with any aspect of the case, prior notice to the opposing representative or, if there is none, to the opposing party must be provided. A party may communicate in writing with the administrative law judge assigned to the case if a copy of such communication is promptly delivered to the opposing representative or, if there is none, to the opposing party. 

How is a small claims hearing before a presiding officer different from a hearing before an administrative law judge?

Although both hearings provide a forum for the taxpayer and Tax Department to present evidence and argument, there are significant differences between the two hearings. Small claims hearings are designed to be conducted as informally as possible consistent with orderly procedure. At small claims hearings there is essentially no motion practice; the Tax Department is usually represented by an auditor or technician instead of an attorney; the hearing is tape recorded instead of stenographically reported and the presiding officer's written determination must be issued within three months. The most significant difference is that in small claims proceedings the determination is final and binding upon both the taxpayer and Tax Department and is not subject to review or further appeal.

Who is eligible to proceed in small claims?

If the amount of tax in dispute exceeds a certain limit, the petition cannot be heard in small claims. For sales and use tax purposes, the amount of tax in dispute must be less than $40,000.00 per 12-month period to be eligible for small claims. For all other taxes, the amount in dispute must be less than $20,000.00 per 12-month period.

How do I select a small claims hearing?

The election to proceed in small claims is one which is controlled solely by the taxpayer. To elect small claims, simply check the "Small Claims Election" box on page 3 of the petition (Form TA-10). If you have already filed a petition and now wish a small claims hearing, you need to send a letter to the Division of Tax Appeals stating that you elect to proceed in small claims. The taxpayer may, by written notice, revoke the election to proceed in small claims at any time before the conclusion of the small claims hearing. The petition would then be transferred for a hearing before an administrative law judge.

How long does a small claims hearing last?

Generally, a small claims hearing will take between one and two hours. Cases with complex issues or multiple issues can take more time.

Is it possible to have my case resolved without appearing in person at a hearing?

The Rules of Practice and Procedure promulgated by the Tax Appeals Tribunal provide for the submission of a case without hearing if both parties consent in writing to have the controversy determined on submission of documentary evidence. The submission process is applicable to petitions being handled by an administrative law judge and to small claims proceedings.

What is the procedure for submitting documents and legal memoranda if a hearing is waived?

After receipt of the signed consent of both parties to submit the case without need for appearance at a hearing, the administrative law judge or presiding officer (if a small claims matter) assigned to the case establishes a schedule for submission of all documentary evidence, including any stipulation of facts entered into by the parties, and legal memoranda. All documentary evidence and briefs must be submitted in accordance with the schedule established by the administrative law judge or presiding officer with copies to the opposing party.

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