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Administrative Procedures OKLAHOMA TAX COMMISSION. Kathryn Bass Chief Deputy General Counsel. Oklahoma Tax Commission. OTC Divisions. omitted divisions HR, IT, MS. Legal Division (General Counsel’s Office). Protests (administrative) Litigation (state and federal court) Bankruptcy

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Administrative Procedures OKLAHOMA TAX COMMISSION

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administrative procedures oklahoma tax commission

Administrative ProceduresOKLAHOMA TAX COMMISSION

Kathryn Bass

Chief Deputy General Counsel

otc divisions
OTC Divisions

omitted divisions


legal division general counsel s office
Legal Division(General Counsel’s Office)
  • Protests (administrative)
  • Litigation (state and federal court)
  • Bankruptcy
  • Foreclosures/Quiet Title
  • Collections
  • Personnel Cases
  • Opinions/Letter Rulings
  • Partial Lien Releases
  • Innocent Spouse
oklahoma tax laws
Tax Codes: Title 68 of Oklahoma Statutes

Uniform Tax Procedure Code: 68 O.S. §§ 201 – 263 (hearing procedures in APA, 75 O.S. § 250 et seq. do not apply to OTC)

Tax Commission rules are in Ch. 710 of the Okla. Administrative Code (OAC)*

OTC Rules of Practice and Procedure

710:1-5-1 through 710:1-5-200

*OTC website


§ 221(A) authorizes OTC to audit and issue proposed tax assessments in cases of:

(1) failure to file report and

(2) where tax disclosed by report is less than tax disclosed by OTC examination

§ 224 authorizes jeopardy assessments under certain circumstances; they are issued by OTC order, rather than as a proposed assessment; order is appealable

oklahoma taxes



Mixed Beverage



Gross Production



Motor Fuel

Vehicle Excise

Aircraft Excise

Documentary Stamp

Ad Valorem

Other Miscellaneous

Oklahoma Taxes
administrative hearings most common
AdministrativeHearings (most common)
  • protest to estate tax assessment §815
  • protest to denial of tax refund claim §227

(except income tax)

3. protest to denial of income tax refund claim §207

  • protest to tax assessment §221 (except estate tax)

5. hearing on interception of income tax refund to satisfy outstanding tax liability

administrative hearings miscellaneous
Administrative Hearings (miscellaneous)
  • protest to denial of manufacturer’s exemption certificate § 207
  • protest to denial of ad valorem exemption
  • title revocation hearing
  • boat dealer license hearing
  • cancellation of tax permit or license § 212
protest steps i prior to pre hearing
Protest Steps I (prior to pre-hearing)
  • Taxpayer is audited and issued an assessment
  • Taxpayer files protest to assessment
  • Auditors review and make any adjustments that may be necessary
  • ALJ dockets case, sends taxpayer copy of procedural rules
  • OTC attorney is assigned to represent Division
protest steps ii before alj
Protest Steps II (before ALJ)
  • Pre-hearing conference; scheduling order issued
  • Discovery
  • Hearing
  • ALJ issues Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
  • Petition for Rehearing or Reconsideration before ALJ
protest steps iii before otc
Protest Steps III (before OTC)
  • Petition for En Banc before OTC Commissioners
  • Commissioners adopt Findings
  • Right to appeal OTC Order to Oklahoma Supreme Court
protest letter components
Protest letter components
  • amount of deficiency
  • each error alleged to have been committed by OTC
  • argument and legal authority
  • statement of relief sought
  • verification that statements are true
  • signed by taxpayer or taxpayer’s agent
time limits for protests
Time limits for protests
  • within 60 days after mailing of the proposed assessment
  • OTC may extend the time for filing not to exceed an additional 90 days
time limits for claims for refund 68 o s 227
Time limits for claims for refund (68 O.S. §227)
  • claims must be filed within 3 years from date of payment
  • if claim is denied, taxpayer may file a demand for hearing within 30 days of the mailing date of the notice of denial
  • OTC must set date of hearing which is not later than 60 days from the date the demand for hearing was mailed
  • §227 does not apply to income tax or to estate tax (income tax claim for refund hearings are held under § 207)
226 procedures
§ 226 Procedures
  • In addition to right to protest under § 221, within 30 days of assessment, taxpayer may pay tax and give notice of intent to file suit for recovery of such tax (suit must be filed in district court within 1 year)
  • only available in cases where taxes are claimed to be an unlawful burden on interstate commerce of violative of any Congressional Act or provisions of the Federal Constitution

Taxpayer may represent himself or herself or may be represented by:

  • an attorney
  • an accountant
  • an enrolled agent
  • a representative who has been approved by the Commission to represent the taxpayer
proceedings confidential
Proceedings confidential
  • Taxpayer records are confidential under § 205 (note exceptions, including amounts due by any taxpayer where a tax warrant has been filed; annual list containing names and address of all income tax payers; information as to issuance or revocation of any tax permit or license)
  • Taxpayer may waive confidentiality
pre hearing conference
Pre-hearing Conference

710:1-5-28. General provisions

  • attempt to resolve case
  • discuss facts
  • identify legal issues
  • present discovery requests
  • propose procedural schedule
after pre hearing conference
After Pre-hearing conference
  • ALJ issues pre-hearing order with scheduling dates
  • If taxpayer fails to appear at pre-hearing, but has requested a hearing in writing, ALJ schedules a hearing
  • If taxpayer fails to appear, but has not requested a hearing, Division will file a Verified Response to Protest;
      • if taxpayer responds to the Verified Response and requests a hearing, ALJ sets for hearing
      • if taxpayer responds and does not request a hearing, ALJ issues Findings based on written submissions
      • if taxpayer does not respond, ALJ issues Findings based on protest and Verified Response
pre hearing procedures
  • ALJ issues notice of date and time of hearing and due date of briefs or positions letters in support of position
  • Discovery (interrogatories, requests for production of documents, depositions)
  • Subpoenas issued by Secretary of Tax Commission
rules of evidence 710 1 5 34
Rules of Evidence710:1-5-34
  • OTC follows rules of evidence as applied in non-jury, civil cases in district court, “except when it is necessary to ascertain facts not reasonably susceptible of proof under those rules.”
  • “In that event, evidence not admissible under the Rules of Evidence may be admitted, if it is of a type commonly relied on by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs.”
certification of issues
Certification of issues
  • A party who objects to a ruling of the Administrative Law Judge may request and obtain certification of the issue to the Commission for a decision prior to ALJ’s issuance of Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
  • Certification must contain signatures of taxpayer’s representative, tax division attorney, and ALJ
administrative law judges
Administrative Law Judges

Two ALJs; Must be licensed attorney

  • conduct hearings
  • examine witnesses
  • rule on motions
  • rule on admissibility of evidence
  • continue or recess any hearing
  • control the record
  • make recommendations to Tax Commission
conduct of hearing
Conduct of hearing
  • preliminary motions, if any
  • opening statements
  • call and examine witnesses (ALJ entitled to question any party or any witness)
  • offer documentary evidence
  • cross examine opposing witnesses (in discretion of ALJ, cross may cover matters relevant to issue even though not covered in direct examination)
  • make closing arguments (taxpayer entitled to open and conclude)
  • Parties may submit Proposed Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
burden of proof
Burden of Proof
  • Taxpayer has burden of proof (preponderance of evidence) to show in what respect the action of the OTC is incorrect
  • exception – where OTC brings action to revoke a permit
submission of case on briefs
Submission of Case On Briefs
  • if taxpayer does not request hearing or parties agree hearing is not necessary, ALJ may base Findings on briefs submitted by parties (and stipulations)
  • Voluntary dismissal (taxpayer may dismiss protest or tax division may withdraw assessment any time prior to the entry of a final order by OTC)
  • Dismissal for mootness (case presents no actual controversy or issues have ceased to exist)
  • Dismissal for lack of jurisdiction (not filed within the time provided by statute)
findings conclusions and recommendations
Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
  • includes statement of facts, issues and contentions, conclusions based on findings of fact and applicable law, and recommendation to the Tax Commission
  • Tax Commission issues final order
options after alj findings issued
Options after ALJ Findings issued
  • motion for rehearing before ALJ
  • applications for en banc hearing before Commissioners; application must specify each ground upon which the party alleges the Findings to be erroneous
  • if granted, case heard by Commissioners; Commissioners set date and time of hearing, briefs submitted at least 14 days prior to hearing, Commission sets time limits for oral arguments
otc issues order
OTC issues order
  • OTC may vacate, modify, or affirm, in part or whole, the recommendations of the ALJ
  • OTC order appealable to Oklahoma Supreme Court
actions requiring approval of commissioners
Actions requiring approval of Commissioners*
  • Findings and Recommendations of ALJ
  • waivers of penalty and interest §220**
  • requests for abatement under §221(e)
  • requests for abatement under §219.1
  • requests for settlement under §219
  • innocent spouse relief under §2361

*meet every Tues. & Thurs.

**over $10,000 requires D.Ct. approval

221 e abatement
221(e) abatement
  • if taxpayer fails to file protest within 60 day period, assessment becomes final
  • however, within one year of the date the assessment becomes final, taxpayer may request the OTC to adjust or abatement the assessment
  • taxpayer must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence that the assessment or some portion thereof is clearly erroneous
  • order denying a request for abatement is not appealable
221 e procedures initial review
221(e) procedures Initial Review
  • Division which issued proposed assessment determines whether the request was timely filed and whether the assessment was clearly erroneous
  • If Division agrees assessment erroneous, Division director issues abatement letter
221 e review of initial determination
221(e) Review of Initial Determination
  • If Division does not agree to abatement the assessment, Division notifies taxpayer of decision
  • Taxpayer may make a written request for a review of the Division’s determination to the OTC General Counsel’s Office
  • Assigned attorney reviews the evidence in support of taxpayer’s request and prepares a fact sheet for presentation to the Commission at a regularly scheduled meeting (recommending either approval or denial of request)
  • Taxpayer may appear and present arguments at meeting, but no other hearing is provided
219 1 abatement settlement
§219.1 Abatement/Settlement

Taxes may be abated if Commission finds by clear and convincing evidence:

  • collection would result in taxpayer filing bankruptcy
  • taxpayer is insolvent (beyond control of taxpayer)
  • tax liability is attributable to actions of a person other than taxpayer (inequitable to hold liable)
  • nonpayment of trust fund taxes, taxes were not collected from customer and taxpayer had good faith belief collection was not required
219 1 settlement factors
§219.1 settlement factors*
  • whether taxpayer made good faith effort to comply with tax laws
  • whether taxpayer benefited from nonpayment of the tax
  • involvement of taxpayer in economic activities from which tax liability originated

*Application for Settlement of Tax Liability is on OTC website

219 1 abatement agreements
§219.1 abatement agreements
  • must be approved by unanimous vote of OTC
  • decision to deny abatement not appealable
  • if taxes abated are greater than $10,000, agreement must be approved by judge of the district court of Oklahoma County
  • no appointed or elected official is eligible for this relief
219 settlements compromises where amounts in dispute
§219 settlements (compromises where amounts in dispute)
  • Where amount of tax due is in controversy and liability has not been finally established, OTC may enter agreement to compound, settle, or compromise any controversy relating to amount of taxes due
  • agreements to settle controversies do not require district court approval
innocent spouse relief 68 o s 2361
Innocent Spouse Relief68 O.S. § 2361
  • if joint return has been filed by married taxpayers
  • liability is attributable to income of non-requesting spouse and would be inequitable to hold the requesting spouse liable
  • IRS determination binding on OTC
innocent spouse relief irs determination 2361
Innocent spouse relief – IRS determination (§ 2361)
  • The determination made by the Tax Commission shall be the same as the determination made by the IRS provided tax years and circumstances are the same
  • If IRS has not made a determination, the OTC shall apply the factors that would have been applied by IRS
207 hearings
§207 Hearings
  • general power of Commission to conduct hearings, issues subpoenas for witnesses and production of records
  • person desiring hearing files an application setting forth: tax, amount, error, argument and legal authority, relief, witnesses, verification

(this section applies to claims for refund of income tax, Sowders v. OTC, 527 P.2d 852; also applies to hearings on protest to denial of manufacturer’s exemption certificate)

tax liens
Tax liens
  • filed in office of the county clerk; evidence of state’s lien on any interest in any real or personal property of the taxpayer
  • prior to other claims or encumbrances on property except those of a mortgagee whose rights have attached prior to date of filing of tax lien
  • Partial release: OAC 710:1-3-80