Bruce Ely was quoted in Business Alabama regarding the Alabama Taxpayer Fairness Act. Ely was a principal author of the legislation, which began as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights II and has been proposed in various forms over the past decade. The article, entitled “Long Road to Tax Fairness,” details the history of the legislation and the benefits of the newly formed Alabama Tax Tribunal, which officially launched in October 2014.
Under the former system, judges were paid by the agency that held a stake in the results of tax cases. Ely cited this potential conflict of interest as a driving force of the legislative reform.
“That doesn’t mean there was ever any indication that the Department of Revenue has ever abused its power in any way and Judge Thompson is very highly respected,” Ely said. “This effort was about removing any perception of a potential conflict to citizens and businesses or industry looking to relocate in Alabama.”
“Allowing taxpayers to appeal final assessments issued by cities and counties is a major step toward addressing the frustration of the business community and tax practitioners with differing interpretations of the law,” said Ely.
Read the complete Business Alabama article, “Long Road to Tax Fairness.”
Editor’s Note: April 2015
Business Alabama published a follow-up article entitled “New Tax Tribunal Busy, Backs No-Show Wedding Chapel,” in which Bruce Ely provides insight into the Administrative Law Division since its launch in October 2014. “The spike in appeals indicates that lawyers handling the so-called ‘big cases’ are opting for the Tax Tribunal because they now feel they’ll get a fair shake,” said Ely, adding, “Also, knowing now that appeals from their assessments are going to Judge Thompson, a lot of cases at the city and county level are being settled more favorably to the taxpayer, suggesting that city and county hearing officers knew they had some home court advantage before this. We now have accountability so they’re more likely to settle at the local level than before.”