SACRAMENTO - George Runner today vented his frustration with Governor Jerry Brown's administration and its newly-created Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
"California's new tax agency is creating needless hurdles for taxpayers seeking justice," said Runner. "Whether caused by clumsiness or conspiracy, these actions are shameful and unacceptable."
At last week's Board of Equalization meeting in Irvine, a representative of the new tax agency asked board members not to vote on tax appeals. He based his request on a dubious legal interpretation of a new law, AB 102, which stripped BOE of much of its power.
Runner and his fellow board members believe the new law limits board member communications with taxpayers as of July 1 of this year when the law took effect.
However, an administration lawyer opined last week that the new law should be broadly interpreted, forcing board members to disclose communications prior to when it took effect.
The resulting confusion delayed the board from hearing tax appeals for hours.
"The administration seems to be doing everything it can to create hurdles," said Runner. "I hope it's not a preview of what's to come for taxpayers."
"Despite the confusion, the board fulfilled its duty to vote on tax appeals," continued Runner. "If the board hadn't done so, taxpayers who had waited months or years for justice would have been forced to wait even longer."
Ironically, the new law in question is titled The Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017. Supporters claimed it would speed up tax appeals and promised a seamless transition, but to date the law has only created problems and headaches for taxpayers.
The two-day board meeting concluded Friday. The next meeting is scheduled for August 29 to 31 in Sacramento.