This process applies to audits being conducted by the Revenue Division on behalf of the Office for Community Technology.
As described in Portland City Code Section 7.14.090, you have the right of appeal any written determination applying the provisions of the Utility License Law to the Revenue Division’s Business License Appeals Board. Appeals relating to the Utility License Law follow the process described in Portland City Code 7.02.290. The following discusses the various steps and procedures of the protest and appeals process.
Please note that this process described here does not apply to penalties assessed under the Utility License Law that are not connected to an audit. If you have been assessed a penalty, please refer to the communication you received from the Office for Community Technology for next steps.
File a Protest with the Auditor
Upon receipt of any Initial Determination of an audit issued by the Office for Community Technology, or the Revenue Division on behalf of the Office for Community Technology, you have 30 days from the date of issuance to file a protest with the Revenue Division. This protest must be in writing and should explain the reason for the protest, including new evidence to support your position, as well as an explanation of what you feel the Final Determination should be. Your protest will be reviewed by the Audit Section and Division management as quickly as possible. This protest is meant to allow you the opportunity to present new information to the Division before they issue their Final Letter of Determination. If the review will take more than 30 days, the Division will notify you of this in writing.
After review of your protest and evidence, the Revenue Division will do one of two things:
- Issue a Revised Initial Determination: If, as a result of the Division’s review, it is found that there were simple, straightforward errors (such as mathematical errors) in the initial determination under protest, the Division will correct them and issue a revised initial determination. If you receive a revised initial determination that you still disagree with, you have 30 days to renew your protest in writing with supporting evidence. If you agree with the revised initial determination, you have 30 days to make payment before additional interest and/or penalties are assessed.
- Issue a Final Letter of Determination: As a result of the Division’s review, the Division will reconcile all available information filed through the protest and issue you the Final Letter of Determination. If you disagree with this Final Determination, you have 30 days to file a written notice of appeal with the Business License Appeals Board. If you agree with the final determination, you have 30 days to make payment before additional interest and/or penalties are assessed.
File an Appeal with the Business License Appeals Board
Any person may appeal a Final Letter of Determination made under the Utility License Law by filing a written notice of appeal within 30 days of date the Final Determination was mailed. An email sent to the relevant point-of-contact of Licensee without an out-of-office reply and/or a mailer demon received in response, shall be deemed to satisfy the “mailed” requirement. The written notice of appeal should be directed to the Business License Appeals Board and sent to the following address:
City of Portland
Business License Appeals Board
111 SW Columbia St., Suite 600
Portland, OR 97201-5840
You have 90 days from the date the final determination was mailed to file a written statement with the Business License Appeals Board which should indicate:
- The reasons the final determination is incorrect.
- What the correct determination should be.
If you fail to file this statement within the 90 days, it will be deemed that you have waived your objections and your appeal will be dismissed.
The Division has 150 days from the date the Final Determination was mailed to file its written statement with the Appeals Board. You will receive a copy of this statement.
The Business License Appeals Board will hear the appeal on the basis of the written statements and any additional testimony as required. You will be given not less than 14 days prior written notice of the hearing date and shall have the opportunity to present relevant testimony and oral arguments.
You will be notified of the Business License Appeals Board’s determination in writing. The decision of the Business License Appeals Board is the only administrative appeal and their decision is final.
The Revenue Division may extend the time for filing of statements upon petition by you, the appellant, for good cause. If the Bureau extends the time for filings on its own behalf, you will be notified in writing.
The filing of an appeal with the Business License Appeals Board temporarily suspends the obligation to pay any tax that is subject to the appeal, until such time as the appeal decision is issued.
This written notice of appeal can be delivered to the City via email to the auditor, OCT program manager assigned to your case, or the revenue audit supervisor. The written notice of appeal is not meant as an opportunity to submit evidence, it need only be one sentence stating your intent to file your “written statement” within the deadlines provided above. However, if you send your written notice of appeal and you fail to submit your written statement within the 90-day deadline, then you waive your objections and your appeal will be dismissed.