The California Office of Tax Appeals will hold an informal interested parties meeting on April 3, 2020, to discuss proposed amendments to its rules for tax appeals. The proposed amendments are in response to feedback from public and internal parties after the OTA began operating under its permanent rules for tax appeals since January 2019.
One of the proposed amendments addresses the process to request a closed hearing when a CPA firm represents its attest client. The proposed amendment states the OTA “a closed hearing shall generally be granted” when a taxpayer provides a statement from the CPA firm and the taxpayer, signed under penalty of perjury by both parties, affirming: (1) the taxpayer is a current attest client of the CPA firm; (2) the taxpayer wants to be represented by the CPA firm at the oral hearing before OTA; (3) the taxpayer would like a closed hearing; and (4) the CPA firm affirms that it cannot represent the client unless the oral hearing is closed. When a request for a closed hearing is granted, the reason for the closed hearing, along with the names of the taxpayer and the representatives, will be noted on the hearing agenda. The proposed amendments do not address whether the briefing, hearing transcript, or opinion related to a closed hearing under such circumstances will be available to the public.
The proposed amendments also include a new section titled “Motion to Revise Opinion After Issuance.” Under this section, a party may file a motion to revise an opinion based on a non-substantial error or errors. An error is non-substantial if it does not change, in whole or in part, the holding of the case. However, a party must exercise caution in filing this motion because filing the motion waives the right to file a petition for rehearing and concedes the holding of the opinion.
The proposed amendments also provide two additional circumstances under which the OTA will dismiss an appeal: (1) when the parties agree to a conditional dismissal, which means an agreement by all parties to dismiss the case subject to certain terms as agreed upon by the parties; and (2) the OTA becomes aware that a party is a suspended or forfeited entity.
The OTA will accept written comments through May 1, 2020.
For more information, the OTA’s notice of interested parties meeting and a complete copy of the proposed amendments can be accessed via the following links: