This informal mediation conference allows opposing parties the opportunity to discuss their concerns in a non-adversarial setting and to explore whether the dispute can be resolved without further hearings. It focuses on finding a workable solution that satisfies the law.
Your participation in a mediation conference is voluntary. If your appeal is scheduled for a mediation conference, you may waive the mediation conference and proceed directly to a hearing by signing and returning the TC 103 Hearing Request form fifteen (15) days prior to the scheduled mediation.
If your case is set for a hearing and you would like to try mediation, you may present that idea to the opposing party. If all parties agree to mediate the case, the Tax Commission will support that decision.
Mediation proceedings are intended to allow an open and confidential exchange of information among the parties and the mediator. Here is what you should know about confidentiality:
The role of the mediator is to facilitate the discussion, not decide the outcome or impose a solution. The mediator will:
The mediator will NOT advocate for either party, choose sides or render a decision. The parties may ask the mediator for an opinion of probable outcome of the case should it go to hearing, but the mediator's opinion is only informal and nonbinding. It should not be considered a final decision.
You have two options:
The mediation process is informal. You may be represented by legal counsel or any other person of your choice, but it is not required. If you will be represented at the mediation conference by legal counsel or other representative, please provide written authorization to the Tax Commission and the opposing party of that fact at least 10 days before the date of the mediation conference.
If the mediation process resolves some or all of the issues under appeal, you will be asked to work with the other party to prepare and sign a settlement agreement.
The settlement agreement will stipulate what issues have been resolved. Settlement agreements or stipulations must be submitted to the Tax Commission for approval. If you use a mediator provided by the Tax Commission, the mediator will process the agreement document for you. If you use an independent mediator, you must submit the agreement in writing to the Tax Commission Appeals Unit for processing.
The Commission will issue you a final order that disposes of the issues settled through mediation. If any issues are reserved for hearing, or if the Commission finds that it cannot accept the agreement, your appeal will be set for a hearing.
If it appears that mediation cannot resolve the matter, the mediation conference can be terminated at any time. In that event, the matter will be scheduled for a formal hearing.