The Impact of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania Tax Appeals

The Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 virus has had a significant impact on taxpayers’ administrative tax appeals with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Board of Appeals and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue.

The Board of Appeals closed its offices on March 16, indicating in a statement on its website that in certain cases additional time may be granted to file a request for tax reassessment or refund. According to the statement, an appeal will be considered filed in a timely manner if it is recorded by the later of:

  • 30 days after the reopening of the Board of Appeals offices; or
  • The original appeal deadline.

The Board notes that if the appeal deadline fell on a date prior to the office’s closure on March 16, the original deadline is still applicable. In addition, the Board indicates that it will accept any submission of requested documentation as long as it was received within 30 days after the Board of Appeals office reopens.

It should be noted that refund claims and reassessment appeals are governed by separate statutes, and there may be dispute as to whether the Department of Revenue or Board of Appeals has authority to extend deadlines for the filing of tax refund claims. As such, it behooves taxpayers to ensure their refund claims are filed in a timely manner either electronically or postmarked by U.S. Mail by the statute-imposed deadline. Additional information may be found on the Board of Appeals website at www.boardofappeals.state.pa.us

In contrast to the Board of Appeals office closure, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue appears to be continuing its operations, albeit via teleworking. In a press release dated March 16, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella stated that Treasury employees in Dauphin County and the Capital Complex would be teleworking for the next two weeks. This would appear to include the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue. In statement titled BFR Operations Under Exigent Circumstances Caused by the Public Health Emergency, released on its website on March 26, the Board indicates that, effective immediately and until further notice, publicly scheduled hearings would be conducted telephonically pursuant to their schedule, pending further notice from the Board.

The statement also provides guidelines for how the telephonic hearings will be conducted. The next scheduled hearings are April 7 and 8. Scheduled petitioners who wish to participate must electronically submit the hearing reply to the Board via bfr@treasury.gov at least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing. Failure to submit a hearing reply notice will result in the Board deciding the appeal based solely on the submission. Issuance of Orders may be delayed as a consequence of restricted workplace access. 

The statement also details other potential options and procedures for petitioners, including Oral Hearing Waivers, Continuance Requests, Recorded Hearings, Board Orders, Board Filings and Correspondence and Deadlines and Extensions. Details can be found at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue website at www.patreasury.gov/bfr.

If you have any questions regarding the revised appeal procedures and deadlines, please do not hesitate to contact your state and local tax professional.

Please visit our Coronavirus resource page at schneiderdowns.com/our-thoughts-on/category/Coronavirus for related content.

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Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2020 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

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