California likely to start publishing tax decisions

by Chuck June 28, 2012

Charles F. Spielmann

Charles F. Spielmann

State tax law may be made available to the public

Until recently, publishing tax decisions was not a regular practice of most states, however, a bill has passed the California Assembly that, if passed, will require the State Board of Equalization (BOE) to issue written decisions within 120 days in tax cases involving amounts of a half million dollars or more.

California’s BOE is in charge of sales and use taxes, and fees including administration, assessment, and collection and prescribes its functions with respect to property taxes.

AB 2323, penned by Assembly Member Henry Perea, would require such court findings in tax cases to be published on the state web site and made publicly available as legally citable precedent. If enacted, each decision would be required to contain: findings of fact;  legal issue presented; applicable law; analysis; disposition; and names of adopting board members.

It makes me wonder why it has taken so long for California, and many states like it, to begin publishing tax decisions provide the public with open access to established tax law. Do legislators get some kind of pleasure blindsiding unwitting violators? Or, have they been avoiding providing facts in the fear that it might empower state businesses and individuals defending themselves in court?

Chuck
Chuck


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