BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION
Petitioner, ) FINDINGS OF FACT,
: CONCLUSIONS OF LAW,
v. ) AND FINAL DECISION
AUDITING DIVISION OF THE ) Appeal No. 92-1102
UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION, :
: Account No.XXXXXX
STATEMENT OF CASE
This matter came before the Utah State Tax Commission for a prehearing conference on XXXXX. With the consent of the parties, the prehearing conference was converted to a formal hearing. Alan Hennebold, Presiding Officer, heard the matter for and on behalf of the Commission. XXXXX, C.P.A., represented Petitioner. XXXXX, Assistant Utah Attorney General, represented Respondent.
Based upon the evidence presented during the hearing, the Commission hereby makes its: FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Petitioner requests waiver of penalty and interest arising from its withholding tax liability for the XXXXX tax year.
2. Petitioner employs XXXXX, C.P.A., to prepare its various state and federal tax returns.
3. For the year in question, XXXXX prepared and filed quarterly withholding tax reports, which reports were filed with the Tax Commission and paid. However, at the very end of XXXXX Petitioner paid additional bonuses to its employees. Taxes were properly withheld from the bonus payments, but not picked up on the 4th quarter reports. The bonus-related taxes were included in Petitioner's annual reconciliation form submitted to the Commission.
However, the withholding tax attributable to the bonus payments was not remitted.
4. In XXXXX, the Commission discovered Petitioner's failure to fully pay its XXXXX withholding tax liability. A ten percent late payment penalty was assessed against Petitioner, as was interest at the statutory rate of 12% per annum.
5. Upon notice of the deficiency, Petitioner paid the full amount of tax, penalty and interest. XXXXX then reviewed his records and noted that the reconciliation had in fact been prepared. Although his records were unclear on the point, XXXXX has concluded that his staff may have failed to instruct Petitioner to tender payment of the tax due.
6. XXXXX uses a computerized system for filing Petitioner and other clients' taxes. The computerized system is backed up with a manual control card system. XXXXX cannot explain why his system of internal control failed to catch the error in this instance. He advises that at about the same time, a similar error was made with respect to another client's withholding tax account, again for reasons that are unclear.
7. Federal withholding taxes were properly filed and paid, including amounts attributable to the year end bonus payments.
Commission records establish that except for the incident in question, Petitioner has filed its withholding tax returns in a timely manner and paid in full all taxes due.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Tax Commission is granted the authority to waive, reduce, or compromise penalties and interest upon a showing of reasonable cause. (Utah Code Ann. §59-1-401(8).)
DECISION AND ORDER
The Petitioner concedes that it failed to timely pay its withholding tax liability for the XXXXX tax year. XXXXX, the Petitioner's C.P.A., has testified that the error occurred despite reasonable procedures to prevent such an error. XXXXX has also pointed out that Petitioner has fully complied with withholding tax requirements both before and after the incident in question. Finally, XXXXX argues that imposition of interest at a rate of 12% per annum on the late payment of the withholding tax is sufficient to insure future compliance with tax requirements.
In view of the foregoing circumstances, and particularly because of the inadvertent nature of Petitioner's error and its history of compliance with tax requirements, the Commission finds reasonable cause to waive the penalty
imposed in this matter. Interest is not waived. IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 20th day of November, 1992
BY ORDER OF THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION.
R. H. Hansen Roger O. Tew
Joe B. Pacheco S. Blaine Willes