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Sales tax is one of the most interesting, and challenging, taxes. It’s interesting because it involves clients in every possible industry. Every active business has potential sales tax exposure, no exceptions!  And unfortunately sales tax compliance is particularly difficult for two, specific reasons.  First, the tax is perhaps the most fact-dependent – seemingly inconsequential changes in the underlying facts can transform a nontaxable sale into a taxable one.  Second, these rules are constantly changing.  It’s tough enough to keep up with these changes in just one state.  But many vendors, especially those selling over the internet, have to keep abreast of these changes in multiple states.  So it’s easy to fall behind on sales tax compliance. 

With this blog, we hope to keep you up to date on impactful changes in the sales tax compliance, especially in New York State.  We’ll review legislative and administrative changes in the sales tax; we’ll discuss new sales tax case law; and we’ll highlight the enforcement initiatives and tactics we’re seeing while defending businesses in sales tax audits.  We hope you find this content as interesting as we do.  Please contact us with any questions. 

Sales Tax Cases from the TiNY Blog for April 10, 2024

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Here are the sales tax cases from the TiNY Blog for the week of April 10, 2024.


Matter of Ramos and Matter of Ramos (ALJ Chu-Fong, March 28, 2024); Div’s Rep. Eric Gee, Esq.; Petitioner pro se; Articles 28 and 29/Timeliness.

These two Orders involve two parallel, and essentially the same, timies. One reflected the period December 1, 2016, through May 31, 2017, and the other reflected the period December 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018. The issue was whether Petitioner, who appeared pro se, timely filed a request for conciliation conference after the issuance of the respective notices of determination.

Four notices of determination were allegedly issued on January 9, 2019, one each for the four sales tax quarters involved. Petitioner filed a request for conciliation conference at BCMS on July 16, 2021, for the first two notices. The request was supposed to be filed within 90 days from the statutory notice, and the July 16, 2021, response was much later than 90 days. BCMS dismissed Petitioner’s request as untimely.

Then, Petitioner filed a petition at DTA protesting all four notices and the conciliation order. The Division moved for summary determination, which is proper when no material and triable issue of fact exists. Petitioner did not respond to the Division’s motion, and in failing to do so, conceded that no question of fact requiring a hearing exists.

However, as the motion for summary determination involved the timeliness of a request for conciliation conference, the Division was required to meet its burden of demonstrating its standard procedure for mailing statutory notices and that the method was used to send the notices at issue. The Division did not offer sufficient proof to establish the standard procedure was followed in this case. Even though the Division adequately proved its standard mailing procedures, the use of a different post mark on Page 3 of the certified mailing record (“CMR”) indicated that those procedures may not have been followed in this case. From Judge Chu-Fong: “While the postal employee’s initialing or signing of the last page of the CMR and noting the number of articles received indicates the total number of certified mail articles that were delivered to the USPS, whether any particular certified mail article on the CMR was actually delivered to the USPS depends on the Division’s business practice of generating the CMR and the certified mail articles covered by that CMR at the same time and keeping the CMR and the covered certified mail articles together until their delivery to the USPS. The conflict in the postmarks appearing in the CMR bears on this procedure…. The presence of a postmark with a date of January 11, 2019, raises a question of fact as to when page 3 of the CMR was delivered to USPS. This issue suggests the Division may not have followed its standard procedure of keeping the CMR and the certified mailing together until delivered into the possession of the USPS….”

Therefore, the Judge denied the Division’s motions for summary determination. Hearings on the merits will be scheduled in due course.

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