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Christensen v. Tax Comm’n

Christensen v. Tax Comm’n, 2020 UT 45 (Pearce, J.)

Tax

Appellant did not pay taxes for three years while he worked overseas because he did not believe he was considered to be domiciled in Utah at that time. The Utah Tax Commission ordered him to pay taxes, interest, and penalties. Appellant was ordered to pay taxes and interest at an initial hearing before an administrative law judge. Appellant did not request a formal hearing, as he was required to do under the Utah Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA). He appealed to the district court. The Commission moved to dismiss because the district court lacked jurisdiction under the UAPA. The district court denied the Commission’s motion. The Utah Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding:

  • The district court erred when it concluded that the appellant had exhausted his administrative remedies. An initial hearing is part of a larger formal proceeding which includes an initial hearing and a formal hearing. After an initial hearing, a party must request a formal hearing on the record before it may appeal to the district court under Administrative Rule R861-1A-23(1). If a party fails to do this, it fails to exhaust its administrative remedies. Utah Code section 59-1-601 does not exempt a party from that requirement. Any party wanting to get around this must argue below that the Administrative Rule is arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of the Commission’s discretion.

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