Introduced Version House Bill 3259 History

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H. B. 3259

(By Delegates Michael and Kominar )
[Introduced March 25, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §11-10A-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to small claims hearings by the Office of Tax Appeals; and requiring concurrence of both the Tax Commissioner and the Office of Tax Appeals for a dispute to be conducted in a small claims hearing.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §11-10A-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§11-10A-11. Small claims hearing.

(a) If the amount in dispute in any petition filed with the Office of Tax Appeals does not exceed ten thousand dollars for any one taxable year, then, at the option of the taxpayer and with the concurrence of the Tax Commissioner and the Office of Tax Appeals, the hearing shall be conducted under this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of section fourteen of this article, a hearing under this section shall be conducted in an informal manner and in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure as the Office of Tax Appeals may prescribe.
(b) At any time before commencement of the hearing held under this section, the petitioner may unilaterally withdraw the election made under subsection (a) of this section. Upon a change of election, a hearing shall be held in the same manner as other contested matters to which this article applies.
(c) A decision entered in any hearing conducted under this section is not subject to administrative or judicial review under this article, article ten of this chapter or article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, and may not be treated as precedent for any other contested matter. The amount, if any, owed by the taxpayer to the state shall be paid within thirty days after notice of the decision is served on the taxpayer. The amount, if any, of overpayment by the taxpayer shall be promptly refunded or credited to the taxpayer.
(d) For purposes of this section, the amount in dispute includes tax, additions to tax and penalties, but excludes interest.
NOTE: This bill would require the Tax Commissioner's consent in order for a case to be conducted as a small claims hearing. Currently, the law requires the Office of Tax Appeals, but not the Tax Commissioner, to approve a taxpayer's choice to have its appeal conducted in a small claims hearing. Since small claims are not appealable to circuit court, current law mandates that the Tax Commissioner participate in what is essentially binding arbitration without his or her consent.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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