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Noonan’s Notes Blog is written by a team of Hodgson Russ tax attorneys led by the blog’s namesake, Tim Noonan. Noonan’s Notes Blog regularly provides analysis of and commentary on developments in the world of New York and multistate tax law. Noonan's Notes Blog is a winner of CreditDonkey's Best Tax Blogs Award 2017.

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Ariele Doolittle
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The Annual Report of the Division of Tax Appeals and Tax Appeals Tribunal

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On October 17, 2017, the New York State Division of Tax Appeals and Tax Appeals Tribunal (collectively “DTA”) submitted its annual report to the Governor and heads of the Senate and Assembly for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Numbers-wise, we don’t see a tremendous change over last year in the outcomes of Administrative Law Judge and Tax Appeals Tribunal cases.

First, the ALJ cases. 

Just so you understand the numbers, “Sustained” determinations means those cases where the ALJ upheld the tax department’s assessment. So, yeah, yikes! The tax department had a pretty good batting average last year, and in most years. And only 5% of all notices/bills issued by the tax department were cancelled by the ALJs. 

Keep in mind, however, that this includes all ALJ cases, and anyone who reads the famous TiNY Blog by our colleague Chris Doyle knows that there are tons of cases that are no-brainers, where taxpayers are late with their petitions, or have no real arguments, etc. If we limited the numbers to the population of cases where there were genuine disputed factual or legal issues, the tax department’s batting average likely goes way down.

Here’s how things looked at the Tribunal: 

One thing that jumps off the page is the dramatic increase in the number of determinations and decisions issued, as compared to just a few years ago. Indeed, the amount of ALJ determinations has increased nearly three-fold and the Tribunal’s output of decisions has more than doubled since Fiscal 2014-15.

Not surprisingly, there appears to be some relationship between the number of determinations and decisions issued and the number closing orders issued, i.e., the number of cases that were settled. There has been a steady decline in the number of cases that are being settled, especially at the ALJ level:

Last but certainly not least, the report also notes the addition of two new commissioners to the Tribual. The Tribunal’s President Roberta Moseley Nero was recently joined by Commissioner Dierdre K. Scozzafava, who replaced former President and Commissioner Charles H. Nesbitt; and then, most recently, Commissioner Anthony Giardina replaced former President and Commissioner James H. Tully.

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