89-3226 to 89-3264 - Withholding

 

BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION

_____________________________________

XXXXX

:

Petitioner, :

: FINDINGS OF FACT,

v. : CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

: AND FINAL DECISION

AUDITING DIVISION OF THE :

UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION : Appeal Nos. 89-3226

: to 89-3264

Respondent. : See Attachment

_____________________________________

STATEMENT OF CASE

This matter came before the Utah State Tax Commission for a formal hearing on XXXXX. Paul F. Iwasaki, Presiding Officer, heard the matter for and in behalf of the Tax Commission. Present and representing the Petitioner was XXXXX, Attorney at Law. Present and representing the respondent were XXXXX.

Based upon the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, the Tax Commission hereby makes its:

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The tax in question is withholding tax.

2. The period in question in XXXXX through XXXXX.

3. XXXXX is a XXXXX corporation. In XXXXX and XXXXX the corporation obtained some oil properties in Utah and began operations there.

4. When the Utah operations were started up, XXXXX requested information from the Tax Commission as to how the necessary withholding taxes were to be handled.

5. XXXXX received a booklet from the Tax Commission entitled "Utah Mineral Production Tax Guidelines" to aid them in the handling of withholding tax.

6. The constant referral to "royalties" within that booklet as well as the reference to "royalties" on the return filed by XXXXX led XXXXX to believe that withholding taxes need only be paid on royalties.

7. Based upon the belief that withholding need only be made on royalty payments, XXXXX did not withhold taxes on payments made to working interest owners. The Petitioners were not aware of the requirement to withhold such taxes until XXXXX and thereafter began to withhold the necessary taxes.

8. An audit conducted by the Auditing Division for the period XXXXX through XXXXX established a deficiency for the failure to withhold the taxes in question as well as established a penalty for the failure to do so.

9. Negotiations between XXXXX and the Auditing Division led to an agreement whereby further proceedings on the matter were stayed until XXXXX had an opportunity to contact those persons to whom non-mineral production payments had been made and no withholding taken out. Once contacted those individuals were allowed time to file amended income tax returns to state such income.

10. All but three of the individuals so affected filed the amended return or had already included the income in their income tax returns.

11. The entire tax deficiency had been paid by the individual taxpayers. The individual taxpayers who had not included the income in their original returns were assessed a penalty.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The Tax Commission is granted the authority to waive, reduce or compromise penalties and interest upon a reasonable showing of reasonable cause. (Utah Code Ann. 59-1-401(8).)

DECISION AND ORDER

Although the necessary withholding taxes for non-mineral production payments had not been deducted by XXXXX, the Petitioner nevertheless had an obligation to include such sums in its Utah income tax return. The error of XXXXX does not relieve Petitioner of that obligation.

Based upon the foregoing, the Tax Commission finds that sufficient cause has not been shown which would justify a waiver or a reduction of the penalties and interest associated with the audit period XXXXX through XXXXX. Therefore, the Petitioner's request to waive the penalties and interest associated with those years is denied. It is so ordered.

DATED this 19th day of a April, 1990.

BY ORDER OF THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION.

R. H. Hansen Roger O. Tew

Chairman Commissioner

Joe B. Pacheco G. Blaine Davis

Commissioner Commissioner