The Kentucky Claims Commission (“KCC”) recently dismissed a taxpayer’s appeal of a Kentucky Department of Revenue final ruling because the taxpayer failed to include five copies of the final ruling with the appeal as required by 802 KAR 1:010 §2(3)(b). West v. Dep’t of Revenue, File No. K17-R-47, Final Order No. K-25406 (Jan. 23, 2018).

The KCC’s decision is notable because it represents a continuing trend toward a more strict approach in addressing the failure of petitioners to comply with relevant rules. The KCC (formerly the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals) has previously issued show cause type orders or letters and allowed taxpayers to correct their mistakes in failing to fully comply with the KCC’s regulation or other applicable rules. Instead, as the KCC has recently done in cases where a taxpayer’s appeal is not filed by a Kentucky-licensed attorney (other than by a pro se individual taxpayer), the KCC dismissed this appeal outright. The taxpayer in this case may appeal the KCC’s ruling but would have to argue against the deferential standard that generally applies to an agency’s interpretation of its own rules.  Other arguments, however, could be made.

This case further reinforces that taxpayers must be careful in ensuring that their appeals comply with Kentucky law, regulations, and administrative guidance. They should pay close attention to procedurally-related orders of the KCC. While some taxpayers may have previously been given a chance to bring their appeals into compliance, it appears the KCC is not now so sympathetic to these types of footfalls. Taxpayers should retain an experienced Kentucky-licensed attorney.