Document Type



Taxation-State and Local


Under current New York law, taxpayers who contest their assessments must rely upon a system of review conducted by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Taxpayers, lawyers, and accountants have strongly attacked this system.1 Critical comment has also come from other, disinterested quarters. A 1975 report by the Governor's Task Force on Court Reform, for example, concluded that "the power to adjudicate tax disputes now given the State Tax Commission should be withdrawn from it." The 1979 Governor's Temporary Commission to Review the Sales and Use Tax Laws recommended the consideration of an independent tax appeals board. Most recently, a 1984 report by the Office of the State Comptroller identified major deficiencies in the processing and resolution of tax controversies. Criticisms of the tax appeals system have focused on a number of claimed defects, including the inefficiency of the appeals process, the quality of the decisions rendered and, most importantly, the unfairness of the procedural structure used to hear and resolve disputes. This Article evaluates these complaints and explores alternatives to the present system.