2015 ORS 305.501¹
Appeals to tax court to be heard by magistrate division
  • exception
  • mediation
  • conduct of hearings
  • decisions
  • appeal de novo to tax court judge

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, an appeal to the tax court shall be heard by a tax court magistrate unless specially designated by the tax court judge for hearing in the regular division. In any matter arising under the property tax laws and involving a county or county assessor that is designated for hearing in the regular division, the Department of Revenue shall be substituted for the county as a party. The plaintiff or petitioner in the appeal is not required to pay any additional filing fee if the proceeding is specially designated by the tax court judge for hearing in the regular division.

(2) A party to the appeal may request mediation, or the tax court on its own motion may assign the matter to mediation. If the mediation does not result in an agreed settlement within 60 days after the end of the mediation session, the appeal shall, absent a showing of good cause for a continuance, be assigned to a magistrate for hearing.

(3) The tax court, with the assistance of the State Court Administrator, shall establish procedures for magistrate division hearings and mediation.

(4)(a) Subject to the rules of practice and procedure established by the tax court, a magistrate is not bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure, and may conduct the hearing in any manner that will achieve substantial justice. A hearing may be conducted in person or by telephone. Magistrates may confer with each other in order to reach a decision on any matter.

(b) All written magistrate decisions shall be mailed to the parties to the appeal and to the Department of Revenue within five days after the date of entry of the written decision.

(5)(a) Any party dissatisfied with a written decision of a magistrate may appeal the decision to the judge of the tax court by filing a complaint in the regular division of the tax court within 60 days after the date of entry of the written decision.

(b) If a decision of a magistrate involves any matter arising under the property tax laws and a county was a party to the proceeding before the magistrate, the Department of Revenue may file a notice of appeal whether or not the department had intervened in the proceeding before the magistrate. In such cases, the department shall appear before the tax court judge in any proceeding on appeal.

(c) If a decision of a magistrate involves any matter arising under the property tax laws and a party other than a county appeals the decision to the tax court judge, the Department of Revenue shall be the defendant.

(d) Appeal to the judge of the tax court is the sole and exclusive remedy for review of a written decision of a magistrate.

(6) Appeal of a final decision of a magistrate before the judge of the tax court shall be as provided in ORS 305.425 (Proceedings to be without jury and de novo) (1) and 305.570 (Standing to appeal to regular division of tax court).

(7) If no appeal is taken to the tax court judge within 60 days, the decision of the magistrate shall become final. The tax court shall enter a judgment enforcing all final decisions of the magistrate, which judgment shall be binding upon all parties. ORS 305.440 (Finality of unappealed decision of tax court) (2) applies to the final determination of any property tax matter. [1995 c.650 §11; 1997 c.872 §20; 1999 c.340 §1; 2005 c.345 §9; 2007 c.283 §1; 2012 c.48 §13]

Notes of Decisions

Where tax court magistrate division dismisses ac­tion on procedural grounds, de novo review by regular division is limited to determining whether magistrate abused discre­tion. Freitag v. Dept. of Revenue, 19 OTR 144 (2006)

Except for limited situa­tions de­scribed in this sec­tion, taxpayer may not initiate ap­peal in regular division of tax court. Wynne v. Dept. of Revenue, 342 Or 515, 156 P3d 64 (2007)

Chapter 305

Notes of Decisions

Policy of efficient and effective tax collec­tion makes doctrine of estoppel against govern­ment in tax cases one of rare applica­tion. Pacific Conference v. Dept. of Rev., 7 OTR 429 (1978)

Law Review Cita­tions

9 WLJ 193-260 (1973); 48 WLR 147 (2011)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 305—Administration of Revenue and Tax Laws; Appeals, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors305.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 305, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano305.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.