Sandra M. Rodriguez-Diaz, Chief Administrative Law Judge
Jarrett Kalish, Administrative Law Judge
The Administrative Law Judge Division consists of a Chief Administrative Law Judge and other Administrative Law Judges who hear cases and render determinations. The Administrative Law Judges are appointed by the President of the Tribunal.
A case usually arises when a taxpayer files a petition challenging a statutory notice issued by the Commissioner of Finance. Generally, after the petition is acknowledged by the Chief Administrative Law Judge and answered by the Commissioner of Finance, the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case holds a pre-hearing conference, at which time settlement is explored. If it appears that the case will proceed to hearing, an attempt is made at the pre-hearing conference to narrow the issues and encourage the parties to enter into a stipulation of facts.
If a case proceeds to hearing, generally the same Administrative Law Judge who presided over the pre-hearing conference conducts the trial, receives evidence and issues a written determination within six months, which may be extended to nine months by the Administrative Law Judge for good cause, after the later of the completion of the hearing or the submission of briefs by the parties. The determination of the Administrative Law Judge sets forth the issues in the case, the relevant facts established by the parties and the conclusions of law relevant to the issues. The determination is binding on both parties unless one or both of the parties requests a review of the determination by filing an exception with the Appeals Division of the Tribunal within 30 days after the issuance of the determination of the Administrative Law Judge.
As an alternative to a formal hearing, if the amount in dispute is $10,000 or less (not including penalty and interest), taxpayers have the right to opt for a small claims proceeding within the Small Claims Unit of the Administrative Law Judge Division. A small claims hearing is conducted informally by an impartial Presiding Officer who is experienced in tax matters and whose determination is final and binding on both parties. At any time before the conclusion of a small claims hearing, a taxpayer may discontinue the proceedings and request that the case be transferred from the Small Claims Unit for a hearing and appealable determination before an Administrative Law Judge. The Administrative Law Judges also serve as Presiding Officers.