Reed Smith Client Alerts

The California Office of Tax Appeals (“OTA”) officially began operations on January 1, 2018. One year later, we review the OTA’s accomplishments in its first year and the progress the OTA has made towards its mission to provide taxpayers and the state with a tax appeals process that is “fair, transparent, consistent, equitable, and impartial.”1

(This is a republication of Law360’s January 29 installment of Reed Smith’s California Tax Takes monthly column.)

Authors: Andres Vallejo Shail P. Shah Priscilla Ayn Parrett Yoni Fix Rebecca G. Durham

Background

In June of 2017 the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 102 (“A.B. 102”). The bill, among other things, created the OTA. The OTA was tasked with issuing decisions “in a transparent fashion, relying on well-established precedents in tax law, providing open public access and choice of representation, and building a record that both taxpayers and tax administration agencies can rely upon.”2 The legislation vested with the OTA “all of the duties, powers, and responsibilities of the State Board of Equalization (“BOE”) necessary or appropriate to conduct appeals hearings.”3

Specifically, A.B. 102 called for the creation of tax appeal panels, each consisting of three administrative law judges (“ALJs”).4 Each ALJ is required by statute to have been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least five years immediately preceding his or her designation to the OTA and possess knowledge and experience with tax law.5The legislation also required the OTA to adopt regulations to “carry out the [OTA’s] duties, powers, and responsibilities.6