The answers by the Department of Revenue to the questions are not to be relied upon by taxpayers in lieu of a Private Letter Ruling and are not the kind of written
information upon which a taxpayer may rely to request an abatement under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Where a conflict appears to exist between these answers
and a form, instruction, regulation or bulletin issued by the Department, taxpayers are advised to follow the form, instruction, regulation or bulletin, contact the
Department’s Business Hotline at (217)-524-4772, or seek a Private Letter Ruling.
Page 3 of 7
review. If the taxpayer produces its documents or gives legitimate reasons why it cannot do so within that time period, then the matter can remain in the informal review process for a total of 180 days, with periodic status conferences during this extended period to assure that the parties are proceeding with diligence. Contrary to the representation in the question, during these periods, the taxpayer can interact with the Department’s reviewer as much as the parties agree to between themselves-these meetings are not limited to only those set by order as status conferences in informal review. The status conferences are the only meetings that require the presence of an administrative law judge at some point.
Taxpayer’s due process rights are not being threatened by these procedures for a number of reasons. Nor is there any intent to “speed up the informal review process.” First, it is recognized the many statutory tax provisions mandate that the taxpayer keep books and records that reflect its business transactions that are affirmatively represented in the various tax returns that it files with the Department. These books and records are to be available to the Department for review or audit when requested. Thus, the taxpayer has full opportunity to gather its documents, which it is required to keep, and present them during the time the Department conducts its audit. At the close of the audit, the taxpayer is advised of the basis of the proposed assessment, which would, necessarily, identify any problems perceived by the Department regarding the adequacy of taxpayer’s books and records. There is a period following the close of an audit during which the pertinent Notice of proposed assessment is prepared and issued by the Department, and that is followed by a statutory 60 day period for the taxpayer to protest the assessment and request a hearing. The taxpayer then has an additional 30 days to request a proceeding in informal review. Id. at 200.135(a). These time periods afford the taxpayer additional months following an actual audit to gather its documentation to counter the Department’s proposed assessment. As the informal review process is limited in scope to a determination as to “whether adequate grounds for the assessment of the liability exist given the factual information provided by the taxpayer prior to, and at the time of, the conference… .” (id. at 200.135(d)), the status conferences that are held to ascertain compliance with the regulatory requirements are reasonable. If the informal review process is being misused, it will be removed from that forum as it is in violation of purpose and procedure. Thus, the proceedings in informal review are not intended to “speed up the informal review process” as suggested by the question.
The informal review forum is one that the taxpayer elects to utilize and is not mandated. A failure to resolve the matter in informal review does not affect any rights of the taxpayer to have its case heard fully in administrative hearings as mandated by statute. Once the matter is removed from the informal review calendar and placed on the administrative hearings calendar, status conferences are held until such time that the case is set for formal hearing. Id. at 200.101 et seq. With limitatio ns provided by regulation (id.), during the time that the matter
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