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§ 48-2-35. Refunds. image description

§ 48-2-35. Refunds.

CODE OF GEORGIA

Title 48. REVENUE AND TAXATION

Chapter 2. STATE ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION, ADMINISTRATION, AND ENFORCEMENT

Article 2. ADMINISTRATION

Current through 2018 Chapter 562 and 2018 Special Session Chapter 3

§ 48-2-35. Refunds

(a) A taxpayer shall be refunded any and all taxes or fees which are determined to have been erroneously or illegally assessed and collected from such taxpayer under the laws of this state, whether paid voluntarily or involuntarily, and shall be refunded interest, except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, on the amount of the taxes or fees from the date of payment of the tax or fee to the commissioner at an annual rate equal to the bank prime loan rate as posted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in statistical release H. 15 or any publication that may supersede it, plus 3 percent, to accrue monthly. Such annual interest rate shall be determined for each calendar year based on the first weekly posting of statistical release H. 15 on or after January 1 of each calendar year. For the purposes of this Code section, any period of less than one month shall be considered to be one month. Refunds shall be drawn from the treasury on warrants of the Governor issued upon itemized requisitions showing in each instance the person to whom the refund is to be made, the amount of the refund, and the reason for the refund.
(b) No interest shall be paid if the taxes or fees were erroneously or illegally assessed and collected due to the taxpayer failing to claim any credits listed in Article 2 of Chapter 7 of this title on or before the due date for filing the applicable income tax return, including any extensions which have been granted.
(c)
(1)
(A) A claim for refund of a tax or fee erroneously or illegally assessed and collected may be made by the taxpayer at any time within three years after:
(i) The date of the payment of the tax or fee to the commissioner; or
(ii) In the case of income taxes, the later of the date of the payment of the tax or fee to the commissioner or the due date for filing the applicable income tax return, including any extensions which have been granted.
(B) Each claim shall be filed in writing in the form and containing such information as the commissioner may reasonably require and shall include a summary statement of the grounds upon which the taxpayer relies and an identification of the transactions being contested.
(C) Should any person be prevented from filing such a claim because of service of such person or such person's counsel in the armed forces during such period, the period of limitation shall date from the discharge of such person or such person's counsel from such service.
(D) A claim for refund may not be submitted by the taxpayer on behalf of a class consisting of other taxpayers who are alleged to be similarly situated.
(2) In the event the taxpayer desires a conference or hearing before the commissioner or the commissioner's delegate in connection with any claim for refund, he or she shall specify such desire in writing in the claim and, if the claim conforms with the requirements of this Code section, the commissioner shall grant a conference at a time he or she shall reasonably specify. A taxpayer may contest any claim for refund that is denied in whole or in part by filing with the commissioner a written protest at any time within 30 days from the date of notice of refund denial or partial payment. Such 30 day period shall be extended for such additional period as may be agreed upon in writing between the taxpayer and the commissioner during the initial 30 day period or any extension thereof. In the event the taxpayer wishes to request a conference, that request shall be included in the written protest. All protests shall be prepared in the form and contain such information as the commissioner shall reasonably require and shall include a summary statement of the grounds upon which the taxpayer relies, an identification of the transactions being contested, and the reasons for disputing the findings of the commissioner. The commissioner shall grant a conference before the commissioner's designated officer or agent at a time specified and shall make reasonable rules governing the conduct of conferences. The discretion given in this Code section to the commissioner shall be reasonably exercised on all occasions.
(3) The commissioner or the commissioner's delegate shall consider information contained in the taxpayer's claim for refund, together with such other information as may be available, and shall approve or deny the taxpayer's claim and notify the taxpayer of the action.
(4) Any taxpayer whose claim for refund is denied by the commissioner or the commissioner's delegate or whose claim is not decided by the commissioner or the commissioner's delegate within one year from the date of filing the claim shall have the right to bring an action for a refund in the Georgia Tax Tribunal in accordance with Chapter 13A of Title 50 or in the superior court of the county of the residence of the taxpayer, except that:
(A) If the taxpayer is a public utility or a nonresident, the taxpayer shall have the right to bring an action for a refund in the Georgia Tax Tribunal in accordance with Chapter 13A of Title 50 or in the superior court of the county in which is located the taxpayer's principal place of doing business in this state or in which the taxpayer's chief or highest corporate officer or employee resident in this state maintains an office; or
(B) If the taxpayer is a nonresident individual or foreign corporation having no place of doing business and no officer or employee resident and maintaining an office in this state, the taxpayer shall have the right to bring an action for a refund in the Georgia Tax Tribunal in accordance with Chapter 13A of Title 50 or in the Superior Court of Fulton County or in the superior court of the county in which the commissioner in office at the time the action is filed resides.
(5) An action for a refund pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection shall not be brought by the taxpayer on behalf of a class consisting of other taxpayers who are alleged to be similarly situated.
(6)
(A) No action or proceeding for the recovery of a refund under this Code section shall be commenced before the expiration of one year from the date of filing the claim for refund unless the commissioner or the commissioner's delegate renders a decision on the claim within that time, nor shall any action or proceeding be commenced after the later of:
(i) The expiration of two years from the date the claim is denied; or
(ii) If a valid protest is filed under paragraph (2) of this subsection, 30 days after the date of the department's notice of decision on such protest.
(B) The period prescribed in this paragraph for filing an action for refund shall be extended for such period as may be agreed upon in writing between the taxpayer and the commissioner prior to the expiration of such period or any extension thereof.
(d) In the event any taxpayer's claim for refund is approved by the commissioner or the commissioner's delegate and the taxpayer has not paid other state taxes which have become due, the commissioner or department may offset any existing liabilities against the refund. Once the offset authorized by this subsection occurs, the refund shall be deemed granted and the amount of the offset shall be considered for all purposes as a payment toward the particular tax liabilities at issue. Any excess refund amount after any offsets have been applied shall be refunded to the taxpayer at the same time the offset is taken.
(e) This Code section shall not apply to taxes paid for alcoholic beverages pursuant to Title 3.
(f) For purposes of all claims for refund of sales and use taxes erroneously or illegally assessed and collected, the term "taxpayer," as defined under Code Section 48-2-35.1, shall apply. Such claim for refund shall contain the total refund claimed and the allocation of the local sales and use tax by the political subdivision.
(g) Any taxpayer required to pay taxes electronically in accordance with paragraph (2.1) of subsection (f) of Code Section 48-2-32 shall also file any claims for refund electronically. The department shall make claim for refund forms consistent with this subsection electronically available.
(h)
(1) As used in this subsection, the term:
(A) "Political subdivision designee" means the chief officer or officers designated by the political subdivision to receive information about a refund claim of local significance pursuant to this subsection. Each political subdivision shall certify to the commissioner that any such designee is so authorized on a form and in a manner prescribed by the department.
(B) "Refund claim of local significance" means a taxpayer's claim for refund of sales and use taxes erroneously or illegally assessed and collected or the department's discovery of any overpayment of such taxes, if such claim for refund or overpayment is for an amount equal to or greater than 10 percent of the total yearly average of aggregate sales and use tax distributions to any single political subdivision based on the average of the three most recent calendar years.
(2) Within 30 business days following the department's receipt of a refund claim of local significance, the department shall notify each affected political subdivision's political subdivision designee that a refund claim of local significance to the political subdivision has been received and shall furnish the taxpayer with a copy of such notification. Such notification shall include the date the refund claim of local significance was filed, the amount in the claim for refund for which the political subdivision itself would be responsible if the request is granted, and a copy of the confidentiality provisions in Code Section 48-2-15 and this Code section. After the department has completed an audit of the claim for refund and determined a final refund amount, the department shall supplement the above notice by transmitting to the political subdivision designee the final refund amount for which the political subdivision is responsible.
(3) Any information supplied to a political subdivision designee pursuant to this subsection shall retain, in the hands of the local official, its privileged and confidential nature to the same extent and under the same conditions as such information is privileged and confidential in the hands of the commissioner, pursuant to Code Section 48-2-15. It shall be the responsibility of the political subdivision designee, and not the department, to protect privileged and confidential information received under this subsection. Any person who divulges any tax information obtained under this subsection shall be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as provided for divulgence of tax information by employees of the department. Though privileged and confidential information shall not be disclosed, the political subdivision designee may make reasonable budgetary recommendations to elected officials, city managers, and tax officials in political subdivisions based on the confidential information furnished. The department shall not be subject to any criminal or civil liability for the unauthorized divulgence of privileged and confidential information by a political subdivision designee. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event all or any portion of the refund claim of local significance is for a tax levied under Part 1 of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of this title, the affected county shall not be in violation of this confidential provision if it notifies all municipal political subdivision designees in the county that such notification has been received from the department.
(4) The commissioner, by rule or regulation, shall establish guidelines for identifying and producing documents to the Department of Audits and Accounts for review relating to the handling of refund claims of local significance. In the event of such review, the Department of Audits and Accounts shall assess whether the department followed proper procedures and used appropriate methodology to reach its final determination on a refund claim of local significance.
(5) Any refund claims of local significance pending with the department for two years after the claim for refund was filed shall be automatically transferred to the Georgia Tax Tribunal as a declaratory judgment of the commissioner requesting a show cause proceeding pursuant to Code Section 50-13A-19.1.

Cite as OCGA § 48-2-35

History. Amended by 2016 Ga. Laws 488, §2, eff. 7/1/2016.

Amended by 2012 Ga. Laws 609, §; 2, eff. 1/1/2013.

Amended by 2009 Ga. Laws 174, §; 3, eff. 5/5/2009.

Amended by 2006 Ga. Laws 453, §; 48, eff. 4/14/2006.

Added by 2005 Ga. Laws 31, §; 5, eff. 4/12/2005.

Amended by 2003 Ga. Laws 82, §;§; 1, 2, eff. 5/29/2003.

Amended by 2003 Ga. Laws 183, §; 1, eff. 5/31/2003.

Related Legislative Provision: See 2012 Ga. Laws 609, §; 16.

See 2003 Ga. Laws 82, §; 8.

See 2003 Ga. Laws 183, §; 2.