Section 4-7.2-11. Appeals on assessments; rulings.
A. Any person assessed with a license tax or fee as a result of an audit may apply within ninety days from the date of such assessment to the Director for a correction of the assessment. The application must be filed in good faith and sufficiently identify the taxpayer, audit period, remedy sought, each alleged error in the assessment, the grounds upon which the taxpayer relies, and any other facts relevant to the taxpayer's contention. The Director may hold a conference with the taxpayer if requested by the taxpayer, or require submission of additional information and documents, a further audit, or other evidence deemed necessary for a proper and equitable determination of the application. The assessment shall be deemed prima facie correct. The Director shall undertake a full review of the taxpayer's claims and issue a determination to the taxpayer setting forth its position. Every assessment pursuant to an audit shall be accompanied by a written explanation of the taxpayer's right to seek correction and the specific procedure to be followed in the County (e.g., the name and address to which an application should be directed).
B. Provided a timely and complete application is made, collection activity shall be suspended until a final determination is issued by the Director, unless the Director determines that collection would be jeopardized by delay or that the taxpayer has not responded to a request for relevant information after a reasonable time. Interest shall accrue in accordance with the provisions of Section 4-7.2-9, but no further penalty shall be imposed while collection action is suspended. The term "jeopardized by delay" includes a finding that the application is frivolous, or that a taxpayer desires to (i) depart quickly from the locality, (ii) remove his property therefrom, (iii) conceal himself or his property therein, or (iv) do any other act tending to prejudice, or to render wholly or partially ineffectual, proceedings to collect the tax for the period in question.
C. Any person assessed with a local license tax as a result of an audit may apply within ninety days of the determination by the Director on an application pursuant to Subsection A of this Section to the Virginia Tax Commissioner for a correction of such assessment. The Tax Commissioner shall issue a determination to the taxpayer within ninety days of receipt of the taxpayer's application, unless the taxpayer and the Director are notified that a longer period will be required. The application shall be treated as an application pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-1821, and the Tax Commissioner may issue an order correcting such assessment pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-1822. Following such an order, either the taxpayer or the Director may apply to the appropriate circuit court pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-3984. However, the burden shall be on the party making the application to show that the ruling of the Tax Commissioner is erroneous. Neither the Tax Commissioner nor the Virginia Department of Taxation shall be made a party to an application to correct an assessment merely because the Tax Commissioner has ruled on it.
D. On receipt of a notice of intent to file an appeal to the Tax Commissioner under Subsection C of this Section, the Director shall further suspend collection activity until a final determination is issued by the Tax Commissioner, unless the Director determines that collection would be jeopardized by delay or that the taxpayer has not responded to a request for relevant information after a reasonable time. Interest shall accrue in accordance with the provisions of Section 4-7.2-9, but no further penalty shall be imposed while collection action is suspended. The term "jeopardized by delay" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Subsection B of this Section.
E. Any taxpayer may request a written ruling regarding the application of a license tax to a specific situation from the Director. Any person requesting such a ruling must provide all the relevant facts for the situation and may present a rationale for the basis of an interpretation of the law most favorable to the taxpayer. Any misrepresentation or change in the applicable law or the factual situation as presented in the ruling request shall invalidate any such ruling issued. A written ruling may be revoked or amended prospectively if (i) there is a change in the law, a court decision, or the guidelines issued by the Virginia Department of Taxation upon which the ruling was based or (ii) the Director notifies the taxpayer of a change in the policy or interpretation upon which the ruling was based. However, any person who acts on a written ruling which later becomes invalid shall be deemed to have acted in good faith during the period in which such ruling was in effect.