The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Board of Appeals recently issued guidelines that are posted on the Board’s website, notifying taxpayers on how the Board intends to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the Board’s office.
The Board has suspended all in-person hearings until further notice. In lieu of in-person hearings, the Board is offering the following alternatives:
Skype – Petitioners who have the ability to use Skype may exercise this option to have a formal hearing.
Teleconference – Petitioners may waive the formal hearing and request an informal teleconference to discuss the case.
Continuance – Petitioners may request a continuance of the formal hearing as well as an extension of the decision due date.
Waiver of Hearing – Petitioners can waive their right to a hearing and request that the Board make a decision based upon the record.
Decision and Orders
The Board has indicated that they will continue to make every effort to continue issuing orders. However, during the closing, all orders will be issued electronically through email. The Board advises that there may be some delays due to these circumstances. If petitioners are planning to appeal the Board’s Order to the Board of Finance and Revenue, they are urged to review the notice on the Board of Finance and Revenue’s website at https://www.patreasury.gov/bfr/. See Schneider Downs’ Our Thoughts On article –“The Impact of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania Tax Appeals.”
Board of Appeal Filings
The Board encourages the continued filing of appeals through their on-line petition center at www.boardofappeals.state.pa.us. Upon the filing of the appeal on-line, a confirmation number will appear on the screen. Taxpayers should keep a record of the confirmation number. The Board will continue to use United States Postal Service post mark and the date of the time stamp on a petition filed electronically in determining the filing date of an appeal.
Petition Filing Deadlines
The Board reiterated it recently announced new filing deadlines, reminding taxpayers that appeals of tax assessments issued by the Department of Revenue or a petition for a tax refund is considered to have been filed timely if filed by the later of 30 days after the reopening of the Board of Appeals offices or the original appeal deadline. However, if the appeal deadline fell on a date prior to the closure of state offices on March 16, 2020, then the original deadline is still applicable. Appeals will be considered to be filed timely if they are filed by the last day of the appeal period.
The Board has indicated that they will extend time to accept any additional documentation that has been requested as long as that information is received by the Board with 30 days of when the Board of Appeals’ office reopens. Taxpayers may also be granted additional time to request a reconsideration from the Board.
Schneider Downs Comments
While the Department is extending the deadline to file certain appeals and encouraging the use of the on-line petition center to file appeals, taxpayers may be better served by continuing to comply with statutory imposed deadlines and using the postmark from the US Postal Service to document the timely filing of appeals.
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Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.