Elected officials announce Board of Finance and Revenue reform legislation

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Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity joined PA Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21st District) and Rep. Tim Briggs (D-149th District) in announcing bipartisan, pro-taxpayer legislation to improve dispute resolution with the Department of Revenue.

Later this month¬ legislation will be introduced that allows the Board of Finance and Revenue to accept late-filled application and to create a new settlement process as an alternative to court processes, the officials said. The legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the NFIB, and the Pennsylvania Society of Enrolled Agents.

“The PA Chamber advocates for tax reforms that embody the principles of competitiveness, predictability, fairness, and simplicity,” Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry said. “This bipartisan proposal will make needed reforms to the tax appeals process and lead to a quicker and fairer resolution to disputes, which is in the best interest of taxpayers and the Commonwealth.”

Currently, taxpayers who disagree with decision made by DOR have a strict 60-day deadline to appeal DOR’s decision to BF&R, which often leads to cases being dismissed on a technicality rather than the case’s merits. The proposed legislation would allow BF&R to accept late-filed applications for taxpayers who show good cause for the delay.

The legislation also empowers BF&R to create a formal settlement process, allowing for more tax disputes to be resolved without a final board decision. Officials said the new processes would reduce litigation costs.

The board receives an estimated 4,200 appeals annually and must resolve each appeal within six months of its filing. If it fails to resolve the appeal, the underlying DOR decision is upheld. Officials estimate about 13 percent of eligible appeals are resolved through settlement prior to an appeal.

“NFIB is happy to see this bipartisan proposal take shape, Greg Moreland, state director for NFIB. “Far too often small business owners find themselves involved in complicated bureaucratic processes which take time, energy, and money away from their core business.”