Formally protest a department notice

If you received a notice from the Tax Department stating that you have formal protest rights, you can challenge the notice in either of the following ways:

  • file a Request for Conciliation Conference, or
  • file a Petition for a Tax Appeals hearing

Taxpayers initially file more than 98% of all formal protests as a Request for Conciliation Conference.  Over 90% of these protests are resolved through this process.

You don't have formal protest or appeal rights if you:

  • Owe tax, interest, or penalties as a result of a mathematical or clerical error on a return, a change the IRS made to your federal return, or your failure to timely pay tax you reported due on your return.
  • Received a Statement of Audit Changes/Adjustment

If you don't have formal protest or appeal rights, you may choose to informally dispute a bill or adjusted refund.

Request a conciliation conference through an independent bureau in the Tax Department

Request a conciliation conference through the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services (BCMS), an independent bureau in the department, that reports directly to the Commissioner.  Learn what to expect throughout the conciliation conference process.

A BCMS conference is more timely and less expensive than the Division of Tax Appeals hearing described below.  It's an impartial forum to hear disputes.  They can only address department notices that have formal appeal rights and where the taxpayer or representative has filed a timely Request for Conciliation Conference.

Learn more about Requesting a conciliation conference 

File a petition for a Tax Appeals hearing

File a petition in writing with the Division of Tax Appeals.  Your petition must state which department actions you're protesting. 

After the hearing, an impartial administrative law judge (ALJ) will issue a determination that decides the dispute unless you or the department request Tax Appeals Tribunal review.  The Tribunal will review the record of hearing and any additional oral or written arguments.  It then:

  • issues a decision affirming, reversing, or modifying the ALJ's determination; or
  • refers the matter back to the ALJ for further hearing.

See the Division of Tax Appeals for more information.

Updated: April 01, 2014