Board of Tax Appeals. Washington established its state Board of Tax Appeals (Board) in 1967 as an independent agency to hear non-judicial administrative property and excise tax appeals. The Governor appoints the Board members. Board members qualify for appointment based on their training and experience in state and local tax matters. At the time of appointment, no more than two of the three board members may be members of the same political party. The Board hears appeals from County Boards of Equalization and from the state Department of Revenue (DOR). Specific areas of jurisdiction of the Board include:
Appeals from Administrative Orders. The appeal from an administrative decision of the Board is governed by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). For a superior court to have jurisdiction to hear an appeal, the APA requires that a copy of the petition for judicial review is to be served on the agency, the office of the attorney general, and all parties of record. Service on the attorney for a party of record is sufficient to perfect jurisdiction in superior court.
The bill as referred to committee not considered.
Service of the petition for judicial review on the Board is not a jurisdictional issue on appeal. Failure to timely serve the Board is not grounds for dismissal of an appeal from the Board. The party appealing the Board's decision may perfect service of the petition on the Board at any time after filing the petition.
Administrative Changes to the State Board of Tax Appeals. Appointments of non-attorney members to the Board must have valuation experience as an appraiser accredited by DOR. The title of tax referees is changed to tax appeals officers. Tax appeals officers are authorized to serve pro tem on the Board when a position is vacant or a member is unable to hear a particular case set for full Board review. The Board member salary is to be fixed by the Governor, pursuant to law.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: This is a somewhat technical bill. It streamlines the process and the service requirements. This was to streamline something that was required but should not be necessary for the purpose of the court's jurisdictional requirements. This bill removes an extra step. This helps the board get qualified people to serve on it.
OTHER: The Board of Tax Appeals is required to provide a copy of the agency record to the court within 30 days of service. When they receive notice of appeal, the board sends a copy of the transcript of that hearing to the parties so the appellant can get the transcript done as required by the court. If no one is required to tell the board that the lawsuit has been filed, they do not know how they will tell the parties they need a transcript or how the board will give a copy of the agency record to the court. Not sure how the board would move forward with this bill.