Pennsylvania Taxes, the Board of Finance and Revenue and You

I recently was contacted by a business owner who lives in New Jersey. He owns and operates stores in Pennsylvania that sell fuel. Naturally, fuel taxes are due to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from the sale of such fuel. The Commonwealth law that governs the imposition of such taxes is called the Liquid Fuels & Fuels Tax (I know, it sounds redundant). There are separate laws and regulations which permit certain types of taxes, including Liquid Fuels Taxes, to be paid via electronic means, that is, by electronic funds transfer (ETF). As things would have it, this business paid their tax about 45 minutes after the EFT deadline due to electronic/computer issues (though still technically a day early under the Liquid Fuels & Fuels Tax laws), and were assessed penalty and interest charges for which they sought an appeal — which brings me to the point of the blog.
Appeals of such matters proceed to…

…the Board of Finance and Revenue. Oral argument on the case was held in Harrisburg, PA. There, litigants with virtually any kind of tax issue you can think of, file into a moderate sized room and wait until they are called to the podium to argue their case in front of a 6-member panel. Surprisingly, about 25% of the people I observed (and I was there till nearly the very end) chose to represent themselves. I have blogged about the concept of representing oneself before, but here, once again, I saw how people who represent themselves in such matters are at a serious disadvantage.
At the Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue’s oral argument session, all parties are given a limited amount of time to present their arguments. Those who were unrepresented spent much of their allotted argument time discussing things that were clearly not relevant to why they were there in the first place. Similarly, when asked questions, those representing themselves seemed to be at a distinct disadvantage when being asked questions by the Board panel members. The Board’s questioning seemed unexpected to some and unsettling to others. By contrast, those who were represented by counsel were able to get right to the crux of the matter being addressed on appeal and, likewise, were, by and large, well-able to address questions the Board posed to them.
If you find yourself in a Pennsylvania tax appeal matter, whether involving the Pennsylvania Liquid Fuels & Fuels Tax, personal income taxes, or business taxes, certificates, and exemptions, etc., and you are headed to the Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue, you owe it to yourself to hire an experienced tax law attorney as early as possible in the process. Our tax law attorneys help individuals, churches, and businesses with tax issues of all kinds in York, Lancaster, Dauphin and surrounding counties and we can help you. Contact us at today for help