Bureau of Conciliation
A sales tax auditor is never the final authority as to whether you and your business owe a tax debt to the government. There are numerous safeguards and appeals rights built into the system to help insure that an unsubstantiated sales tax position is overturned or that an erroneous sales tax assessment is cancelled. However, in order to preserve your rights you must file a timely appeal in writing with the appropriate state agency.
New York, like many states, has an informal arbitration process specifically designed to help many businesses avoid the time and expense of litigating a sales tax dispute in tax court. The New York State Department of Taxation & Finance has a separate unit called the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services (BCMS). This unit’s responsibility is to serve as an informal mediator between a business (or individual) and the audit division of the tax department and to try to fairly resolve a tax dispute, without the need for either party to go to tax court. At a BCMS hearing, the hearing officer’s decision is binding on the tax department; however, you have the right to appeal the decision in tax court.
While filing and trying a matter before the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services is less formal and less costly than tax court, there are still a number of administrative and procedural steps that must be followed to insure your rights at the hearing and to maximize the possibility of having the sales tax assessment reduced or eliminated. We will formulate and execute a carefully designed audit defense and dispute plan to help insure that you and your business prevail at a BCMS hearing and that your sales and use tax assessment is reduced or eliminated.