Businessman sues state tax commissioner over missed hearing

By John O'Brien | Sep 6, 2006

CHARLES TOWN - A Charles Town man says the state Tax Commissioner's Office did not notify him of when his assessment appeal hearing would be held and claims his right to due process was violated.

John Robb, doing business as Current Electric, blames State Tax Commissioner Virgil T. Felton in a lawsuit filed Aug. 25 in Jefferson Circuit Court.

In appealing three tax assessments handed down by the office, Robb says he was never told when his hearing was to be held and missed it.

When he missed it, the Office of Tax Appeals had no choice but to uphold the assessments.

"A hearing was purportedly held by the West Virginia Office of Tax Appeals on an unspecified date," the complaint says. "Robb did not receive notice of this hearing as required by West Virginia Code… and the hearing was conducted in his absence without proper notice, an opportunity to appear or present evidence."

Robb says the tax appeals office did not conduct its hearing in accordance with state law, and that he has been denied due process rights and is not obligated to pay the assessments.

Felton's office imposed a consumers' sales and service tax assessment for $10,231, a purchaser's use tax assessment of $6,789 and a personal income tax withholding assessment of $6,789.

On Oct. 9, 2004, Robb says he filed a petition for reassessment. In December of that year, Robb says a hearing was scheduled but was postponed, and that he was never informed of the new date.

Braun Hamstead of Charles Town law firm Hamstead and Associates is representing Robb, who seeks an appropriate scheduling order, a record of the tax appeals office's proceedings provided to the court and the decision to be reversed.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number 06-C-289

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