What to expect throughout the conciliation conference process
Before the conference
- After the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services (BCMS) accepts a request for a conciliation conference, they will assign a CMS number and send you an acknowledgment letter in approximately 10 days from the date of the request. They will also contact the division that issued the notice and advise them that you filed a protest.
- The division that issued the notice may contact you to resolve the matter prior to a conference. If it can't be resolved by the division, BCMS will schedule a conference. You'll receive a written appointment notice at least 30 days before the scheduled conference date.
- Penalty and interest will continue to accrue during the appeals process. You can pay the amount due at any time to stop accrual and still continue your protest.
- If you have a disability and wish to request that we provide a reasonable accommodation that will enable you to participate in a conciliation conference, please call the department's Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action at 518-530-4650.
You can appear at the conference by yourself or appoint a representative by completing a Power of Attorney (Form POA-1). A representative can include an attorney-at-law licensed to practice in New York State, a certified public accountant duly qualified to practice in New York State, a public accountant enrolled with the New York State Education Department, an enrolled agent licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, or an employee of a corporation who is not an officer. Others may request special permission from the Director of BCMS to represent a client.
- You should bring any documents and information (including federal and state tax returns) that you believe will help explain why the department's position is incorrect. Please be aware the conferee will not have seen any documents that you may have submitted to the Department.
- For assessments issued to married couples, one spouse may represent both parties at the conference. However, couples that are divorced, separated, or no longer living together should get a signed Power of Attorney (Form POA-1) authorizing one individual to appear on behalf of the other (or former) spouse.
During the conference
An impartial conferee will conduct the conference, which typically lasts less than two hours. A department representative will participate to explain the department's position. You will then have an opportunity to ask questions, explain your position, and submit supporting documentation.
After all information and evidence has been presented, the conferee will attempt to mediate the dispute. If mediation is unsuccessful, the conferee will render a decision.
After the conference
The conferee will send you a proposed resolution in the form of a Consent:
- If you agree with the Consent, sign and return it within 15 days to end your formal appeals process.
- If you disagree with the Consent, the conferee will issue a Conciliation Order. That order will bind you and the department, unless you file a petition for a hearing with the Division of Tax Appeals.