Income Tax Refund
BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION
PETITIONER 1 & PETITIONER 2, )
) Appeal No. 02-1764
) Tax Type: Income Tax Refund
TAXPAYER SERVICES DIVISION )
OF THE UTAH STATE ) Tax Year: 1997
TAX COMMISSION, )
) Judge: Chapman
Kerry R. Chapman, Administrative Law Judge
For Petitioner: PETITIONER 1 (by telephone)
For Respondent: Mr. Tim Bodily, Assistant Attorney General
Mr. Brett Wilding, from the Taxpayer Services Division
Mr. Tony Alvera, from the Taxpayer Services Division
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
This matter came before the Utah State Tax Commission for an Initial Hearing pursuant to the provisions of Utah Code Ann. '59-1-502.5, on February 5, 2003.
At issue is whether the Petitioner is entitled to a $$$$$ individual income tax refund for the 1997 tax year or whether the statute of limitations bars such a refund. Petitioner states that he filed a Utah individual income tax return electronically in 1998 in a timely manner. However, the Respondent has no record of receiving the electronic return. Petitioner states that he also filed his 1997 federal and STATE income tax returns electronically and that he had to refile both of these returns electronically because of transmittal problems.
Petitioner states that, in 1999, he became aware that Utah had not received the 1997 Utah income tax return and mailed a copy of the return to the Tax Commission. The Respondent has no record of receiving the Petitionerís 1997 income tax return in 1999 nor does it have a record of any communication between the Tax Commission and the Petitioner in 1999 regarding the 1997 return. Petitioner further states that he called the Tax Commission in both 2000 and 2001 concerning his 1997 income tax return and mailed another copy of the return to the Commission in 2001. Again, the Respondent has no record of receiving the Petitionerís 1997 return in 2001 nor does it have a record of any Tax Commission employee speaking to the Petitioner in either 2000 or 2001.
Petitioner also states that, in October 2002, he spoke with David Christensen at the Tax Commission, after which he mailed his 1997 return to the Commission by certified mail. The Respondent has a record documenting a phone conversation between the Petitioner and Mr. Christensen in October 2002, and the Respondent received the Petitionerís 1997 income tax return by certified mail on October 23, 2002. However, the Respondent denied the Petitioner a refund of the 1997 taxes he paid because the three-year statute of limitations relating to refunds of 1997 taxes had expired in 2001.
Petitioner asks the Tax Commission to issue the refund of 1997 taxes he paid because, prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, he had contacted the Tax Commission several times concerning his 1997 income tax return and he had on three occasions either mailed the return or sent it electronically to the Commission.
Respondent states that without some written record indicating that Petitioner contacted the Tax Commission concerning his 1997 income tax refund within the three-year statute of limitations period, the Respondent has no authority to disregard the statute of limitations and issue the refund. The Respondent asks the Commission to sustain its denial of the refund on these grounds.
Utah Code Ann. ß59-10-529(7) specifies the statute of limitations that pertains to refunds of Utah individual income taxes. This statute provides as follows:
(a) If a refund or credit is due because the amount of tax deducted and withheld from wages exceeds the actual tax due, a refund or credit may not be made or allowed unless the taxpayer or his legal representative files with the commission a tax return claiming the refund or credit:
(i) within three years from the due date of the return, plus the period of any extension of time for filing the return provided for in Subsection (7)(c); or
(ii) within two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever period is later.
(b) Except as provided in Subsection (7)(d), in other instances where a refund or credit of tax which has not been deducted and withheld from income is due, a credit or refund may not be allowed or made after three years from the time the tax was paid, unless, before the expiration of the period, a claim is filed by the taxpayer or his legal representative.
DECISION AND ORDER
The evidence submitted in this case shows that the Petitioner submitted his 1997 individual income return to the Tax Commission in October, 2002. With this return, the Petitioner claimed a refund of 1997 taxes paid. If this is the Petitionerís only request for a refund of 1997 taxes paid, the refund request must be denied because it comes more than three years after the due date of the 1997 return, thereby exceeding the statute of limitations period as set forth in Section 59-10-529.
What the Commission must decide, however, is whether the Petitioner made a request for refund of 1997 taxes paid prior to the statute of limitations period expiring in 2001. Petitioner claims that he contacted the Commission several times by telephone concerning the 1997 return and refund prior to the statutes of limitations period expiring, in addition to filing the return either electronically or by mail in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Unfortunately, Petitioner has no record of the persons he spoke to at the Commission on these occasions or any evidence that supports these actions. Although possible, the Commission finds it unlikely that none of the Petitionerís conversations would have been documented by the Respondent and that none of these filings would have been received.
Without some evidence to suggest otherwise, the Commission must assume that the October 2002 filing of the Petitionerís 1997 individual income tax return was his first request for a refund of 1997 taxes paid. As the October 2002 filing exceeded the statute of limitations imposed under Section 59-10-529, the Commission denies the Petitionerís request for a $$$$$ refund of 1997 taxes paid and sustains the Respondentís actions. It is so ordered.
This decision does not limit a party's right to a Formal Hearing. However, this Decision and Order will become the Final Decision and Order of the Commission unless any party to this case files a written request within thirty (30) days of the date of this decision to proceed to a Formal Hearing. Such a request shall be mailed to the address listed below and must include the Petitioner's name, address, and appeal number:
Utah State Tax Commission
210 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84134
Failure to request a Formal Hearing will preclude any further appeal rights in this matter.
DATED this 18th day of February , 2003.
Kerry R. Chapman
Administrative Law Judge
BY ORDER OF THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION.
The Commission has reviewed this case and the undersigned concur in this decision.
DATED this 18th day of February , 2003.
Pam Hendrickson R. Bruce Johnson
Commission Chair Commissioner
Palmer DePaulis Marc B. Johnson