Information about Informal Conferences
An informal conference provides an opportunity for taxpayers to informally discuss and support their position with documentation. An informal conference must be requested in writing within the timeframe allowed by the statute governing the tax. An informal conference is provided at no charge and is conducted by a neutral Hearing Referee designated by the Department of Treasury (Department).
As part of the informal conference process, a preliminary review is conducted in an effort to resolve the matter without the need for an actual conference. Many matters are resolved within the taxing divisions after further explanation or additional information is supplied to the Department before proceeding to an informal conference.
If you are granted an informal conference you may appear in person or participate by telephone. You will be notified by certified mail not less than 20 days before the informal conference of the date, time, and place to appear.
Following an informal conference the Hearing Referee will issue a written recommendation and the Department will issue a& Decision and Order of Determination by certified mail which concludes the matter. Following the issuance of a Decision and Order of Determination taxpayers have appeal rights to either the Michigan Tax Tribunal or the Michigan Court of Claims.
How to Prepare for an Informal Conference
Bring all documentation that supports your position to your informal conference. If some of these documents have not previously been supplied to the Department, please mail or fax a copy of those documents to the Hearing Referee at least five business days before the scheduled conference.
Requests for changes in date or time must be made in writing and received at least 48 hours prior to the informal conference and will only be granted for reasonable cause. Please notify the Hearings Division in writing prior to the informal conference if you wish to withdraw your request for a conference. If you do not participate, the conference will proceed in your absence pursuant to 1996 AACS, R 205.1010 .
You may represent yourself in informal conference matters or you may select someone else, such as an attorney, CPA, tax preparer, or any other individual of your choice, to represent you by completing an Authorized Representative Declaration (Power of Attorney) form prior to the conference. This authorizes your representative to represent your interests to the Department.
Documents and forms should be sent to:
Michigan Department of Treasury
430 W. Allegan St.
Lansing, MI 48922
Fax: (517) 636-4115
Please note that the informal conference location may be different from the Hearings Division’s mailing address.
Informal Conference Procedures
The informal conference is governed by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. At an informal conference the taxpayer is afforded the opportunity to present his or her position and to support it with explanation and documentation. A Department representative may be in attendance and may present the Department's position. In some cases the Department may be represented only by the written file. A formal record of the informal conference is not made, but a taxpayer may make an informal sound recording after giving seven days advance written notice. 1996 AACS, R 205.1010(11) .
Instead of attending the informal conference, all parties have the option to have the dispute reviewed based upon a written statement that contains the facts, a discussion of the law and the legal arguments that the party would have presented if they attended the informal conference in person. If a party wants to have their matter reviewed in this manner, they must notify the Hearing Referee as early as possible before the scheduled informal conference. 1996 AACS, R 205.1010(11) .
After an informal conference , the Hearing Referee prepares a written recommendation and submits it to the Administrator of the Hearings Division who, on behalf of the State Treasurer, reviews the recommendation. The Administrator either accepts or rejects the Hearing Referee’s recommendation. If the Administrator accepts the recommendation, he or she issues a written Decision and Order of Determination . If the recommendation is rejected in whole or part, the Administrator issues the Department’s written statement of Reasons and Authority , explaining why the Hearing Referee’s recommendation is not accepted along with a Decision and Order of Determination stating the conclusions of the Department.
Neither the taxpayer nor the Department representative has the opportunity to review or file objections to the recommendation before the Decision and Order of Determination is issued. There is no rehearing of the Decision and Order of Determination. 1996 AACS, R 205.1010(11) .
A copy of the recommendation, Decision and Order of Determination, and if applicable, the statement of Reasons and Authority will be sent to the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative by certified mail. If the taxpayer has appointed a representative, the taxpayer will receive a copy of these documents by first class mail.
A Decision and Order of Determination upholding the adjustment or denial of a refund is a final decision and order of the Department which may be appealed to either the Michigan Tax Tribunal within 60 days or the Michigan Court of Claims within 90 days.
A Decision and Order of Determination upholding an Intent to Assess (Bill for Taxes Due) will direct that a notice of final assessment be issued. The Notice of Final Assessment will include information regarding a party’s appeal rights.