Sec. 2003.101. TAX HEARINGS.
(a) The office shall conduct hearings relating to contested cases involving the collection, receipt, administration, and enforcement of taxes, fees, and other amounts as prescribed by Section 111.00455, Tax Code.
(b) An administrative law judge who presides at a tax hearing is classified as a “master administrative law judge II.” Section 2003.0411 does not apply to this section.
(c) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 228 , Sec. 26(2), eff. September 1, 2015.
(d) To be eligible to preside at a tax hearing, an administrative law judge, including a temporary administrative law judge contracted with under Section 2003.043, must:
(1) be a United States citizen;
(2) be an attorney in good standing with the State Bar of Texas;
(3) have been licensed in this state to practice law for at least seven years; and
(4) have substantial experience in tax cases in making the record suitable for administrative review.
(e) Notwithstanding Section 2001.058, the comptroller may change a finding of fact or conclusion of law made by the administrative law judge or vacate or modify an order issued by the administrative law judge only if the comptroller:
(1) determines that the administrative law judge:
(A) did not properly apply or interpret applicable law, then existing comptroller rules or policies, or prior administrative decisions; or
(B) issued a finding of fact that is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence; or
(2) determines that a comptroller policy or a prior administrative decision on which the administrative law judge relied is incorrect.
(f) The comptroller shall state in writing the specific reason and legal basis for a determination under Subsection (e).
(g) An administrative law judge, on the judge’s own motion or on motion of a party and after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, may impose appropriate sanctions as provided by Subsection (h) against a party or its representative for:
(1) filing of a motion or pleading that is groundless and brought:
(A) in bad faith;
(B) for the purpose of harassment; or
(C) for any other improper purpose, such as to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of the proceeding;
(2) abuse of the discovery process in seeking, making, or resisting discovery; or
(3) failure to obey an order of the administrative law judge or the comptroller.
(h) A sanction imposed under Subsection (g) may include, as appropriate and justified, issuance of an order:
(1) disallowing further discovery of any kind or of a particular kind by the offending party;
(2) holding that designated facts be deemed admitted for purposes of the proceeding;
(3) refusing to allow the offending party to support or oppose a designated claim or defense or prohibiting the party from introducing designated matters in evidence;
(4) disallowing in whole or in part requests for relief by the offending party and excluding evidence in support of such requests; and
(5) striking pleadings or testimony, or both, wholly or partly, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed.
(i) For each hearing conducted under this section, an administrative law judge shall issue a proposal for decision that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law. In addition, the proposal for decision must include the legal reasoning and other analysis considered by the judge in reaching the decision. Each finding of fact or conclusion of law made by the judge must be:
(1) independent and impartial; and
(2) based on state law and the evidence presented at the hearing.
(j) The comptroller may not attempt to influence the findings of fact or the administrative law judge’s application of the law except by evidence and legal argument. An administrative law judge conducting a hearing under this subchapter may not directly or indirectly communicate in connection with an issue of fact or law with a party or its representative, except:
(1) on notice and opportunity for each party to participate; or
(2) to ask questions that involve ministerial, administrative, or procedural matters that do not address the substance of the issues or positions taken in the case.
(k) Appearances in hearings conducted for the comptroller by the office may be by:
(1) the taxpayer;
(2) an attorney licensed to practice law in this state;
(3) a certified public accountant; or
(4) any other person designated by the taxpayer who is not otherwise prohibited from appearing in the hearing.
(l) The comptroller is represented by an authorized representative in all hearings conducted for the comptroller by the office.
Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 354 (S.B. 242), Sec. 3, eff. June 15, 2007.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 228 (H.B. 2154), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2015.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 228 (H.B. 2154), Sec. 14, eff. September 1, 2015.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 228 (H.B. 2154), Sec. 26(2), eff. September 1, 201