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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

Contact: Allen Spelce or R.J. DeSilva
512-463-4070

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2007

Comptroller Susan Combs Moves Tax Hearings to Neutral Agency


AUSTIN — Making good on a promise to Texas taxpayers, Comptroller Susan Combs today announced that she has transferred tax hearings from the Comptroller’s office to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), to assure taxpayers that they will receive fair and impartial treatment in tax disputes. Combs signed the paperwork to make the transfer on January 3, 2007, her second full day in office.

“When a taxpayer disagrees with the Comptroller’s office, that taxpayer is entitled to a fair and impartial hearing,” Combs said. “It is imperative to move tax hearings out of the Comptroller’s office, to remove any appearance of bias and ensure that the integrity of the hearing process is beyond question.”

Under previous Comptrollers, tax auditors, enforcement officers and judges who rendered proposed decisions in tax disputes all worked for the Comptroller’s office.

“That is inappropriate. It’s like having the police, the prosecutors and the judges working in the same office. It is not the legal system I know and respect,” said Combs, a former prosecutor.

Five administrative law judges who preside over tax hearings have moved to the newly established Tax Division of SOAH.

Administrative law judges resolve a variety of tax issues, including taxpayer challenges to tax assessments resulting from audits and taxpayer refund requests.

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