House Bill No. 88
Introduced By m. hanson
By Request of the Department of Revenue
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act establishing a 30-day appeal time for appeals of valuation reviews and estimated and revised assessments of property for taxation purposes; amending sections 15-1-303 and 15-8-601, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date and a retroactive applicability date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 15-1-303, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-1-303. Penalty for refusal to furnish information. (1) If a person refuses to allow inspection of any books or
records when requested by the department or refuses or neglects to furnish any information called for by the department in
the performance of its official duties relating to the assessment and taxation of property, the department shall make a
determination and assessment of the property
as that in its judgment appears to be just and equitable and may add to the
assessment an amount not to exceed 20% of the assessment as a penalty for the refusal or neglect. The department shall
immediately notify the person assessed of its action, either by certified mail or by personal service of the notice.
(2) Upon receiving an assessment made pursuant to subsection (1), the taxpayer has the following remedies:
15 30 days after receipt of the assessment, the taxpayer may request an informal conference with the
department. At the conference, the taxpayer may present evidence in mitigation or extenuation of the failure to supply the
information requested by the department. Within 10 days after the conference, the department shall notify the taxpayer by
certified mail whether the assessment will be modified. The department may modify the penalty if the taxpayer presents
sufficient evidence in mitigation or extenuation of the failure to supply the information sought by the department and if it
finds that the taxpayer did not willfully refuse to supply the information.
(b) If the taxpayer is aggrieved as a result of the informal conference, the taxpayer may appeal to the county tax appeal
20 30 days after receipt of the decision of the department. The county tax appeal board has the authority to
(i) assessment only if it finds that the assessment exceeds 100% of the value of the property specified in 15-8-111; and
(ii) penalty if the taxpayer presents by a preponderance of the evidence facts in mitigation or extenuation of the failure to supply the information that the department sought.
(c) If the county tax appeal board modifies a penalty pursuant to subsection (2)(b)(ii), it may not reduce the penalty to less than 20% of the assessment or, if the assessment is modified pursuant to subsection (2)(b)(i), to less than 20% of the modified assessment.
(3) Either party aggrieved as a result of the decision of the county tax appeal board may appeal to the state tax appeal board within 30 calendar days after receipt of the county tax appeal board's decision. When deciding an appeal brought under this subsection, the state tax appeal board shall follow the provisions of subsections (2)(b) and (2)(c).
(4) Either party aggrieved as a result of the decision of the state tax appeal board may seek judicial review pursuant to 15-2-303."
Section 2. Section 15-8-601, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-8-601. Assessment revision -- conference for review. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), whenever the department discovers that any taxable property of any person has in any year escaped assessment, been erroneously assessed, or been omitted from taxation, the department may assess the property provided that the property is under the ownership or control of the same person who owned or controlled it at the time it escaped assessment, was erroneously assessed, or was omitted from taxation. All revised assessments must be made within 10 years after the end of the calendar year in which the original assessment was or should have been made.
(b) Within the time limits set by 15-23-116, whenever the department discovers property subject to assessment under Title 15, chapter 23, that has escaped assessment, been erroneously assessed, or been omitted from taxation, the department may issue a revised assessment to the person, firm, or corporation who owned the property at the time it escaped assessment, was erroneously assessed, or was omitted from taxation, regardless of the ownership of the property at the time of the department's revised assessment.
(2) When the department proposes to revise the statement reported by the taxpayer under 15-8-301, the action of the department is subject to the notice and conference provisions of this section. Revised assessments of centrally assessed property are subject to review pursuant to 15-1-211.
(3) (a) Notice of revised assessment pursuant to this section must be made by the department by postpaid letter addressed
to the person interested within 10 days after the revised assessment has been made. If the property is locally assessed, the
notice must include the opportunity for a conference on the matter, at the request of the person interested, within
15 30 days
after notice is given.
(b) An assessment revision review conference is not a contested case as defined in the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. The department shall keep minutes in writing of each assessment revision review conference, and the minutes are public records.
(c) Following an assessment revision review conference or expiration of the opportunity for a conference, the department
shall order an assessment
as that it considers proper. Any party to the conference aggrieved by the action of the department
or a taxpayer who does not request a conference may appeal to the county tax appeal board at its next meeting within 30
days of receipt of the revised assessment or the department's assessment made pursuant to the conference.
(4) The department shall enter in the property tax record all changes and corrections made by it."
Section 3. Retroactive applicability. [This act] applies retroactively, within the meaning of 1-2-109, to January 1, 1997.
Section 4. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.