Section 40-2A-5

Authority to issue revenue rulings.

(a) The commissioner may, in addition to all other powers and authority now granted by law, issue "revenue rulings" describing the substantive application of any law or regulation administered by the department. Revenue rulings may also govern procedures applicable to the department, and in that event, shall be called "revenue procedures." Revenue rulings shall be binding on the department and the state, its political subdivisions, and taxing authorities only with respect to the taxpayer making the request and only with respect to the facts contained in the request. The department attorney assigned to review the request for a revenue ruling shall consult with the taxpayer or its authorized representative, if requested by the taxpayer or the authorized representative, prior to issuing the revenue ruling. A revenue ruling shall constitute the department's interpretation of the law or regulations as applied to the facts contained in the request, but only pertaining to the particular facts described in the request, and only to the taxpayer making the request.

(b) Revenue rulings may be issued only if no taxes have accrued with respect to the transactions, events, or facts contained in the request at the time of the issuance of the ruling.

(c) Revenue rulings may be revoked or modified by the commissioner at any time; but any revocation or modification shall not be effective retroactively unless one of the following has occurred:

(1) The person making the request misstated or omitted facts material to the ruling.

(2) The ruling was issued with respect to a matter involving the computation or payment of a tax that was due and payable at the time the ruling was requested.

(3) The law applied by the commissioner in the revenue ruling is changed in a manner to alter the commissioner's conclusions in the ruling and the change in the law is made effective as of the date of the ruling.

The taxpayer may petition for a hearing with the Alabama Tax Tribunal to determine the propriety, under subsections (a), (b), or (c), of any retroactive revocation of a ruling.

(d) All revenue rulings issued by the department shall be published, maintained as a public record, and made available by the department for public inspection and copying, within a reasonable time following their issuance, at a reasonable cost to be determined by the department. Prior to publication, the department shall delete from the text of the ruling all names, addresses, titles, figures, dates, and other information which may identify the particular taxpayer who requested the ruling. If a revenue ruling contains trade secrets or other confidential information, the department shall, upon written request of the taxpayer, delete that information prior to publication.

(e) Requests for revenue rulings shall be submitted in writing to the secretary in the form and manner as prescribed by department regulations, accompanied by a fee of two hundred dollars ($200). The commissioner shall either issue or refuse to issue a ruling within 120 days after receipt of the request unless the taxpayer consents to an extension of time. If the commissioner refuses to issue a ruling within the time prescribed, the two hundred dollar ($200) fee shall be refunded to the taxpayer. A request may be withdrawn at any time prior to the issuance of the requested ruling, in which case there shall be no refund of the two hundred dollar ($200) fee.

(f) Revenue rulings shall be issued in the name of the commissioner.

(g) Subject to the provisions of this section, the commissioner may also issue a revenue ruling in response to a written request by a governing body of a self-administered county or municipality, or by a taxpayer, regarding the substantive application of a sales, use, rental, or lodgings tax levied by or on behalf of the self-administered municipality or county; provided, however, that the commissioner may not (i) issue a revenue ruling interpreting any tax levied by or on behalf of a self-administered municipality or county which levies a gross receipts tax in the nature of a sales tax, as defined in Section 40-2A-3(8), or (ii) issue a revenue ruling that would establish a rule of nexus determining the locality to which sales and use taxes, or gross receipts taxes in the nature of a sales tax as defined by Section 40-2A-3(8), are due if the locality is a self-administered county or municipality, as defined by Section 40-2A-3(20). Revenue rulings shall be binding on a self-administered county or municipality only with respect to the specific taxpayer making the request and only with respect to the specific facts contained in the request. Any ruling shall, if the other requirements of this section are met, be issued within 45 days of receipt of the request, and if the requesting party is a self-administered municipal or county governing body, the fee for issuance of the ruling shall be waived. If the requesting party is a taxpayer, the department shall, promptly upon receipt, forward a copy of the ruling request to the appropriate municipal or county governing body and shall consult with and accept written comments from representatives of the municipality or county prior to issuance of the ruling.

(Acts 1992, No. 92-186, p. 349, §5; Acts 1995, No. 95-607, p. 1279, §2; Act 98-191, p. 297, §2; Act 2014-146, p. 378, §3.)