In the past year, the Director of the Montana Department of Revenue (“DOR”), Brendan Beatty, spoke to the Taxation Committee of the Montana State Bar Association, of which I am the Chairman. Director Beatty was appointed Montana DOR Director by Governor Greg Gianforte in 2021. Director Beatty previously served for over 20 years as legal counsel for the Montana DOR.
Director Beatty made the following noteworthy remarks:
- His goal is for the Montana DOR to be the most citizen-oriented tax department in the country.
- He wants the Montana DOR to communicate better and be better able to deal with tax issues of Montanans.
- The Montana DOR’s job is to carry out the will of the legislature; he will not be an activist director.
- In his view, directors of the Montana DOR should not be involved in legislating from the executive branch, which he will not do.
- While he is not afraid of a fight when it comes to Montana taxation principles, he is also “not a recreational fighter.”
- He requests ideas of what to clean up when it comes to taxation administrative rules.
- Governor Gianforte has a general philosophy of improving Montana’s economy.
- He will emphasize that remote workers in Montana are subject to Montana income taxation.
- In the recent past, local Department of Revenue offices in some counties have been closed. This has proven unpopular.
- While President Biden is pushing to expand the number of employees at the IRS, he has not seen a big push to expand the number of auditors with the Montana DOR.
- Montana is in the first year of a new property tax reappraisal cycle for tax year 2021. Real property taxes are currently based on values as of 2019. Given the recent sharp increase in real property values in the state, he expects that the next real property tax reappraisal cycle in tax year 2023 to be more contentious than previous cycles.
Practice Point. From my 20 years of experience litigating tax cases against Director Beatty as counsel for Montana DOR, I can confirm he is a zealous and talented litigator, but also willing to spearhead reasonable settlements of tax disputes when warranted. As Director, I appreciate his focus on good communication by the Montana DOR and I look forward to working with him and his Department.
About the Author. Jared M. Le Fevre is a Partner in the Tax, Trusts and Estates Practice Group of Crowley Fleck PLLP. Mr. Le Fevre represents taxpayers before the IRS, IRS Independent Office of Appeals, Tax Court, Federal District Court and state tax agencies throughout Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho, and Utah. Mr. Le Fevre is involved in federal, state and local tax audits, appeals, and tax resolution throughout these western states. Mr. Le Fevre also advises clients on the tax effects of business and real estate transactions.
Date of information. May 30, 2022.
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