About the Tax Appeal Process
Please note that this appeals process is in place for all tax types except for locally assessed property tax appeals. For information regarding the locally assessed property tax appeals process, please click here.
You have the right to appeal decisions that you disagree with, especially decisions about the taxes you owe or that you feel should be refunded. The appeals process is important and we encourage you to use it if you have an objection. Everyone should pay their share of taxes, no more and no less, and we need to be informed of our errors. You have several avenues to follow throughout the appeals process, which you can read about below or get more detail from the Tax Appeals - Reference Guide and Steps to Take.
This is the place to start. More than 90 percent of disagreements are settled with an informal review. If you disagree with a notice from us, you’ll need to file a written objection within 30 days from the date of the first notice. For your convenience, you can download a form by clicking on the Forms tab above and downloading a form specifically designed for this purpose. The informal review is effective because a department supervisor reviews your case and the work of any employees involved. Specific instructions on how to request an informal review are located under the Reference Guide.
Office of Dispute Resolution
If you disagree with the outcome of the informal review, the Office of Dispute Resolution is your next avenue. Nearly all of the remaining objections with the department are settled here. You need to file a written objection with the Office of Dispute Resolution within 30 days of the outcome of the informal review in step 1. There is a form specifically designed for this step as well. Located under the Forms tab above.
The first part of this step is a scheduling conference, often held by telephone. After that, you may appear before a hearing officer who is independent of other department staff members. The decision from the Office of Dispute Resolution is considered the Department of Revenue’s final decision. If you disagree with the decision, you may make your case to the appeal bodies outside the Department of Revenue. Read specific instructions in the Tax Appeals - Reference Guide and Steps to Take on how to file an appeal with the Office of Dispute Resolution.
Montana State Tax Appeal Board - District Court - Montana Supreme Court
Steps three through five involve the State Tax Appeal Board, the District Court and the Montana Supreme Court. Taxpayers usually resolve disputes well before this stage and appeal very few decisions to these bodies. The State Tax Appeal Board guarantees your right to have your dispute weighed by a panel that is fully independent of the Department of Revenue, and is simpler and less expensive than going to court. Ultimately, you can appeal to the courts. This gives you the ability to have a judicial body determine whether the decision made by the Department of Revenue is fair and appropriate. (View additional information regarding the State Tax Appeals Board, the Montana District Court and the Montana Supreme Court.)