Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Please contact Commission staff with any additional questions.
Q: Is the Tax Appeals Commission part of the Department of Revenue?
A: The Tax Appeals Commission is an independent state agency created by the Wisconsin Legislature and is not connected in any way with the Department of Revenue.
Q: When can I file an appeal to the Tax Appeals Commission?
A: When you receive a Notice of Redetermination from the Department of Revenue, you have 60 days from the date that you receive that notice to file an appeal with the Tax Appeals Commission.
While different and possibly shorter timeframes may apply to other appeals which are filed with us, such as those involving municipal fees, all appeals from the Department of Revenue are subject to a strict 60-day deadline.
Your written appeal must be physically received at the Commission or sent by certified mail on or before the 60-day deadline. See Wis. Admin Code § TA 1.15 for the specifics of filing your appeal. You should include 5 additional copies of your appeal. The Commission will forward one of the copies to the other party/parties (usually the Department of Revenue).
Always remember to keep copies of any documentation you send to the Commission or to the Department of Revenue or to any agency.
Q: How strict is the 60-day deadline for filing my Petition?
A: This deadline is absolute. Beyond 60 days the Commission does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and will have no choice but to dismiss it. This deadline was set by the State Legislature and is not something under the Commission's control. Wis. Stat. § 73.01(5)(a). See Alexander v. Dep't of Revenue, Wis. Tax Rptr. (CCH) ¶ 400-650 (WTAC 2002) for more information.
A Petition for Review must be physically in our office, not simply postmarked, by 4:30 on the 60th day. Unless otherwise provided by statute, a document is filed on the date it is physically received in writing at the office at the Commission.
The one exception in Wis. Stat. § 73.01(5)(a) states that a Petition for Review is timely if it is mailed; (1) by certified mail, (2) in a properly addressed envelope, (3) with postage prepaid, and (4) postmarked before midnight of the last day for filing. Note this exception does NOT apply to USPS Priority Mail or other tracked delivery methods.
Q: Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me?
A: No. You may hire an attorney or tax professional if you choose to. You can also represent yourself or you can be represented, at your own expense, by another person you choose.
Q: Can I file an appeal online?
A: No. The Commission does not accept email or online filings. “An appeal to the commission must be filed in writing during the period prescribed by statute." Wis. Admin. Code § TA 1.11.
Petitions must be physically in our office, not simply postmarked, by 4:30 on the 60th day. Unless otherwise provided by statute, a document is filed on the date it is received in writing at the office by the Commission.
Q: Do I have to pay a filing fee?
A: Except for cases concerning Homestead Credit, Earned Income Credit, Farmland Preservation Credit, or Municipal fees, all petitions require a $25 filing fee for each docket number. Generally, this means one fee for each notice you are appealing. This fee is statutory and non-negotiable. This filing fee was set by the State Legislature and is not something under the Commission's control. Wis. Stat. § 73.01(5)(a).
Q: I filed my Petition for Review a month ago; why hasn't the Commission contacted me yet?
A: You should have received an acknowledgment of receipt assigning a docket number. The Department of Revenue has 30 days to respond to your petition. Wis. Stat. § 73.01(5)(a). After the Department of Revenue files its answer, you will receive a notice of telephone status conference. Please understand that the Tax Appeals Commission process is similar to that of a court. It is uncommon for a case to be resolved in less than six months. If your case is particularly complicated, involves a large volume of documents, or you fail to follow the Commission instructions after a telephone conference, the process is likely to take more time.
Q: The Commission has scheduled a telephone status conference in my case:
A: Please contact the Commission to reschedule. If the Commission is unable to reach you or your representative by telephone, the conference will proceed, and the Petition for Review may be subject to dismissal pursuant to Wis. Stats. §§ 802.10(7) and 805.03.
- How do telephone conferences work?
A: You must provide the Commission with a telephone number where you or your representative can be reached. The Commission staff will call you or your representative at the time stated on your notice of telephone conference. You will then be connected to the Respondent and the Commissioner, at which time the Commissioner will speak with the parties about the case.
Q: The Department of Revenue filed a Motion for Summary Judgment or a Motion to Dismiss in my case. What does that mean?
A: The Department believes the case can be resolved without a trial. If the Department files a motion, the Commission will set a briefing schedule which will outline your opportunity to respond to the motion and to argue to the Commission that your appeal should not be dismissed. If a Motion to Dismiss is filed with the Department's Answer, your first notice from the Commission will be a briefing order. If both parties are represented by attorneys, the attorneys are encouraged to file a proposed briefing order with the Commission.
Q: The Commission has issued a Briefing Order in my case:
- What should I include in my brief?
A: You can file a brief or letter explaining why the Commission should not dismiss your case. Your explanation should be based on the facts of your case and the applicable tax laws and rules. If you wish the Commission to consider any facts, those facts should be presented in the form of an affidavit or letter signed by someone with personal knowledge of those facts; the letter or affidavit must be signed and sworn to by that person in front of a notary public. Any additional documents should be attached to that notarized affidavit or letter.
- What if I cannot file my brief by the due date?
A: You may request extra time by contacting the Commission.
Q: Can I talk with the Commission in person to explain my appeal?
A: Most of the Commission's cases begin with telephone status conferences. We urge parties to be in communication with one another before the first teleconference. Often cases can be resolved quickly by sharing information and documentation. Some cases involve several or even many teleconferences as the parties exchange documentation. If the facts are relatively clear and the issue is how the law applies to those facts, the Commission will request written argument from the parties and will rule on the legal question. In cases where a resolution between the parties is not possible and the facts are in dispute, the Commission will schedule a trial.
Q: How soon will I get a decision?
A: In large claims cases being decided on a motion
or following a trial, after the final briefs are filed, the Commission has 90
days to issue a decision. The Commission may extend the deadline by an
additional 90 days, if needed. In small claims cases, the Commission has 14
days after the final briefs are due to issue a decision. If yours is a small
claims case, the Commission docket number will end in SC.
Q: Where can I find the Commission's rules and procedures?
A: The procedures for appeals at the Commission are governed by Chapter 73 of the Wisconsin Statutes and Wis. Admin. Code § TA.
Q: Where can I find the Commission's previous decisions?
A: Please see the Decisions tab.
Q: Can I appeal the Commission's decision?
A: When the Commission issues a final decision, Wis. Stat. 73.015 allows you to appeal to the circuit court in the appropriate county within 30 days issuance of the decision under the procedures outlined in Wis. Stat. § 227.53(1)(a)2. (See Wis. Stat. § 227.53(1)(a)3. to determine which county is the appropriate county for your case.)
To begin an appeal to circuit court, you must
- file your petition in the office of the clerk of circuit court;
- serve your petition for appeal personally or by certified mail on the Respondent in the action at the Commission (usually the Department of Revenue but can also be the Department of Transportation or a municipality); and
- serve your petition for appeal personally or by certified mail on the Tax Appeals Commission, although the Commission will not be a party to the appeal.
You may also petition the Commission for a rehearing within 20 days of the decision if you believe the Commission has made an error of fact or law, but note that an untimely petition for rehearing may not stop the 30-day period to appeal to circuit court.