News and Insights

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Transfers Administrative Law Judges to State Office of Administrative Hearings

Tax Development Jan 17, 2007

Effective January 3, 2007, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (Comptroller) transferred the administrative law judges to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Comptroller Susan Combs announced that removing the judges from the umbrella of her office would ensure that they remain independent, fair, and impartial when presiding over tax hearings.

Before the end of January, the judges will move to SOAH's offices at 300 West 15th Street, Austin, Texas 78701-1649. The judges' new mailing address will be: Tax Division, State Office of Administrative Hearings, Post Office Box 13025, Austin, Texas 78711-3025. The main telephone number for SOAH is 512.475.4993, and the main fax number is 512.475.4994.

Many transition issues have yet to be resolved, and SOAH has not published detailed information regarding the effects of this change. The Comptroller's existing Rules of Practice and Procedure may not apply in SOAH proceedings, which means SOAH may need to adapt its rules to accommodate Tax Division hearings.

It is also unclear how the transfer of the judges will affect pending cases, including cases that await the issuance of proposed or final decisions. Oral hearings scheduled for January 2007 have been delayed, and hearings currently scheduled for February similarly may be continued as new procedures are established.

Ryan & Company's Dispute Resolution Group is monitoring the changes and will provide updates as more information becomes available.