TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Christy Gibson on Mar 20, 2015

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has announced that an informal conference process is available to any taxpayer that has received a proposed assessment of tax.  It is free, and a taxpayer may participate in a conference without representation. The primary role of Department of Revenue hearing officers is to make an independent determination of whether a proposed assessment is correct. A hearing officer can adjust an assessment based on a review of state law or any additional information received.

A taxpayer must make a conference request in writing within 30 days from the date of the Notice of Proposed Assessment; please include a copy of your Notice of Proposed Assessment with your request.  Written conference requests may be sent to:

Administrative Hearing Office
Tennessee Department of Revenue
500 Deaderick Street, Suite 11.451
Nashville, TN 37242

If a conference request is made within the 30-day time period, the Department of Revenue will contact the taxpayer within 10 days of the request to arrange a time and date for the conference to take place. Click here to read the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. This document has more information about when proposed assessments become final and a taxpayer’s right to challenge a final assessment in court.

Please keep the following in mind when considering whether to request a conference:

  • You are not required to request an informal conference. An informal conference is not a prerequisite to challenging your assessment in court.
  • Interest continues to run on proposed assessments even after an informal conference has been requested and scheduled.  Therefore, you should consider making payments against your tax liability - particularly against any uncontested portions of the assessment – before an informal conference is held. If you make a partial payment, you should submit a letter with the payment indicating how the payment should be applied.
  • If a conference is timely requested, the Department will not undertake any levy actions until the conference process is completed. However, even if you request a conference, the Department may still file a state tax lien against you.
  • If a proposed assessment is determined to be correct, state law prohibits the Department from waiving interest.
  • The Department may waive penalties in certain circumstances. However, if you were required to register with the Department (for example, to obtain a sales and use tax registration or a business tax registration), and failed to do so, state law prohibits the Department from waiving your penalty.
  • If you have been denied a penalty waiver by the Department's Penalty Waiver Unit, you cannot schedule a conference to review that denial.
  • If your proposed assessment is the result of an audit, you should also bring any objections or additional documentation to the attention of the auditor and his/her supervisor even if you have already requested an informal conference.  It is beneficial to present all available information to the auditor as soon as possible so full consideration can be given to the additional information.  If you are able to resolve your issues with the Audit Division and no longer need a conference, you should notify the Hearing Office in writing that your conference request is withdrawn.

If you have any other questions, please click here or contact the Hearing Office at (615) 741-3810.