Taxpayer's Certified Public Accountant, It's Official Representative, Must Be Provided A Copy of Each Letter or Notice Sent to That Taxpayer
Section 8. [MCL 205.8]
If a taxpayer files with the department a written request that copies of letters and notices regarding a dispute with that taxpayer be sent to the taxpayer's official representative, the department shall send the official representative, at the address designated by the taxpayer in the written request, a copy of each letter or notice sent to that taxpayer. A taxpayer shall not designate more than 1 official representative under this section for a single dispute.
As reported by the Michigan Tax Tribunal:
Fradco, Inc v Dep’t of Treasury; SMK, LLC v Dep’t of Treasury, April 1, 2014.
In this consolidated appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the Department of Treasury, when a taxpayer has an appointed representative, must issue notice to both the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s representative before the 35-day appeal period prescribed in MCL 205.22(1) begins to run.
In Fradco, Inc, the taxpayer requested that the Department send information with respect to tax matters to the designated CPA, to whom the Department did mail the January 22, 2009 preliminary decision and order of determination. However, the Department sent the September 17, 2009 Final Assessment only to Fradco and not to the designated CPA. The CPA ultimately received a copy of the Final Assessment, following inquiries to the Department, on July 20, 2010.
In SMK, LLC, a CPA was designated as the representative for the sales tax audit, with the Department faxing the CPA a notice of April 23, 2010. The Department sent the final assessment to SMK only on June 15, 2010. Following inquiries from the CPA, the Department sent the final assessment on July 23, 2010. The Department sought summary disposition from the Tribunal, arguing that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction as the appeal had not been filed within 35 days of the Department’s Final Assessment, as required by MCL 205.22(1). The Tribunal denied the Department’s motion and cancelled the assessment, finding that MCL 205.8 provided a parallel notice requirement when a request is properly filed regarding notices to be sent to a representative and that notice to SMK alone was not sufficient to start the 35-day appeal period.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Tribunal’s determination.
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the Court of Appeals decision, holding that:
- Under the Revenue Collection Act, MCL 205.1 to 205.31, the Department has two notice obligations; MCL 205.28(1)(a), requiring the Department to give notice to the taxpayer, and MCL 205.8, requiring the Department to give notice to the taxpayer’s designated representative.
- MCL 205.22 dictates procedures surrounding an appeal and does not make reference to either 205.28(1)(a) or 205.8. “Accordingly, there is no statutory indication suggesting that we hold MCL 205.8’s taxpayer representative notice requirement in lower esteem than the MCL 205.28(1)(a) taxpayer notice requirement.” The Supreme Court stated that MCL 205.22 “confirms the notice statutes’ parity” and “[w]hen notice is required, the department must notify the taxpayer and any representative duly appointed by the taxpayer.”
- The Supreme Court vacated a portion of the Court of Appeals’ decision that read “Because Petitioner filed its appeal within 35 days after its representative received notice from respondent, the Tax Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear petitioner’s appeal” reasoning that “[t]o the extent that this can be read to mean the appeal period begins when a taxpayer’s representative receives notice, we conclude it is erroneous.” The Supreme Court stated that instead, the appeal period begins to run upon the Department’s compliance with MCL 205.28(1)(a) by giving the taxpayer actual notice of a final assessment through personal service or certified mail and under MCL 205.8 by sending a copy of the notice of final assessment to the address of the taxpayer’s representative as provided in the taxpayer’s written request.