- What is the Audit Protest Bureau (APB)?
The Audit Protest Bureau provides a forum for taxpayers and the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) to resolve tax audit disputes without resorting to litigation.
The audit-protest process works in three steps:
- After a proposed tax assessment is issued, but before the formal assessment, the APB will have jurisdictional control of the Audit Protest process.
- Taxpayers must file protests with the APB. Previously, this step occurred in the Field Audit Services Division.
- The APB determines the facts, identifies unresolved issues and renders a written decision.
The APB is an independent unit of LDR. Our dispute-resolution professionals are prohibited from engaging in ex parte communication with other LDR employees to the extent that such communication appears to compromise the independence of the APB.
- Are there any types of protests that the APB will not consider?
Generally, the APB will not consider protests when:
- fraudulent or criminal behavior is suspected or ascertained;
- the Department is committed to litigate an issue, particularly when the issue involves a constitutional issue, an overriding or critical concern applicable to other issues, any issue where the Department has issued a Revenue Ruling or issues have been decided through existing jurisprudence;
- taxpayer objections are based upon religious, moral, political, conscientious, or similar grounds; or
- the only matter is collectability.
The APB may also decline to hear a protest when:
- significant information, documentation or evidence has been withheld by a taxpayer or its representative;
- a taxpayer’s prior actions indicate to the Department a pattern of disregard of Louisiana tax laws; or
- the protest has not been filed timely.
- How do I file a protest?
There are four ways to submit your protest. You are strongly encouraged to utilize the Online Audit Protest application(http://ldr.ritetrack.net) . In the alternative, you may complete the Protest Petition Form (R-21001) found on the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s website at www.revenue.louisiana.gov and submit it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to (225) 231-6203, or by the U.S. mail to:Louisiana Department of Revenue
Audit Protest Bureau
Post Office Box 1071
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821-1071
Your protest must be received within 30 days from the date on the notice or must bear a United States postmark that is within 30 days of the date on the notice of the proposed tax due. When the APB receives your protest, you will be sent a notice acknowledging receipt. Your protest will be assigned to a protest officer. The protest officer will contact you (or your designated representative) with further instructions regarding your protest.
- What information is required to file a protest?
The protest should clearly state all of the following:
Taxpayer’s name and address;
- Spouse’s name and address (if joint liability);
- Representative’s name, phone number, fax number and email address;
- Taxpayer’s Louisiana Department of Revenue Account Number;
- Tax Type;
- Taxable period or periods;
- A statement that you are protesting the notice of proposed tax due; and
- A brief and concise factual statement for each disputed issue that supports your position and a statement of the law or authority on which you rely.
You should also include a copy of the Notice of Proposed Tax Due and any documents you believe will help resolve your protest. Where applicable, taxpayers must submit executed Agreements to Suspend Prescription to the Field Audit Services Division prior to November 1st to have their protest considered by the APB.
- Will my information remain confidential?
Any information you provide to support your protest is strictly confidential and not for disclosure, publication or release unless such disclosure is required by law. Furthermore, the information you provide to the APB will stay within the APB and will not be shared with other Divisions within LDR.
- Will my protest be discussed with the Field Audit Services Division without my participation?
The following types of ex parte communications are prohibited:
- Employees of the division representing LDR shall not communicate with APB employees, directly or indirectly, regarding a protest unless notice and opportunity to participate is given to the taxpayer or his representative. If the taxpayer or his representative has verbally or in writing waived notice and participation, the division representing LDR may communicate with the APB without further notice.
- The taxpayer or his representative shall not communicate with APB employees, directly or indirectly, regarding a protest unless notice and opportunity to participate is given to the Director or his designee of the division representing LDR. If the Director or his designee of the division representing LDR has verbally or in writing waived notice and participation, the taxpayer or his representative may communicate with the APB without further notice.
- Employees of the division representing LDR in the protest shall not communicate with the Secretary, directly or indirectly, regarding a protest unless notice and opportunity to participate is given to the taxpayer or his representative. If the taxpayer or his representative has verbally or in writing waived notice and participation, the division representing LDR may communicate with the Secretary without further notice.
- The taxpayer or his representative shall not communicate with the Secretary, directly or indirectly, regarding a protest unless notice and opportunity to participate is given to the employees of the division representing LDR. If the Director or his designee of the division representing LDR has verbally or in writing waived notice and participation, the taxpayer or his representative may communicate with the Secretary without further notice.
- Can I protest some but not all issues included on a proposed assessment?
Yes, you can protest certain issues included on a proposed assessment. If you agree with any issues on a proposed assessment, you can contact the LDR representative at the number listed on the proposed assessment to make arrangements to pay the agreed upon amount. Interest will continue to accrue on the outstanding tax balance while the APB is considering your protest.
- Is there a cost associated with having the APB handle my protest hearing?
Currently, there is no cost associated with having the APB handle a protest hearing.
- Will interest continue to accrue on the outstanding tax balance during the protest process?
Interest and applicable penalty will continue to accrue on the outstanding tax balance while your protest is being considered by the APB.
- Can I represent myself or can someone else represent me before the Audit Protest Bureau?
Yes, you can represent yourself; however, if you choose to have someone else represent you, you will need to execute a Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative Form (R-7006) which will authorize the representative to receive and inspect confidential tax information, to execute agreements to suspend prescription, consents, or to advocate your position before the APB.
- How does the protest process work and how long does it take?
The Taxpayer is audited.
The Department issues a notice of proposed tax due.
Within 30 days, the taxpayer must file a written protest with the APB.
The APB notifies the appropriate Division within the Department and requests a response.
The APB schedules a status conference with the taxpayer and/or its representative and the appropriate Division within the Department. This conference is generally conducted via telephone. All parties should be prepared to discuss their positions during the status conference.
If there is no resolution at the status conference, then the protest officer assigned to the case can schedule and conduct a hearing where both parties can present their view of the protested issue(s).
After reviewing the information presented at the hearing, the protest officer will render a decision and notify both parties of the decision.
Generally, the Department anticipates 6-12 months to resolve a protest.
- What are my rights of appeal if I disagree with the decision of the APB?
At all times during any process with the Department of Revenue, you may pay the disputed tax, interest and penalties under protest and file suit within thirty days in accordance with La. R.S. 47:1576. Should the Department of Revenue issue a formal assessment in accordance with La. R.S. 47:1564, as an aggrieved party, you also have the right to appeal to the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals.
- Can I record my hearing?
Generally, hearings are not recorded; however, if you want your face-to-face hearing recorded, you must give written notice, ten business days prior to the hearing, of your intent to record the hearing and you must hire a certified court reporter, at your expense, to record and transcribe the hearing. The APB must receive and approve the transcript.
- Who can I contact with any questions?
If you have questions about filing a protest or the protest process, call 225.219.1641, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.