Preamble: These rules implement legislation adopted in 2003 in response to recent federal court decisions involving mandatory assessments by agricultural commodity commissions. In some of these cases the courts have held that commodity commissions may not require growers to contribute to advertising, product promotion, and similar forms of speech. It is not clear that these cases apply to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, nor the information which it produces and distributes. Nevertheless, in order to reduce the likelihood of legal challenge, these rules permit tax payers who might disagree with OFRI's activities the opportunity to seek a refund of that portion of the Forest Products Harvest tax which supports OFRI's informational programs.
(1) Any person who has paid Forest Products Harvest Tax pursuant to ORS 321.017 may apply to OFRI for a refund of that portion of the tax used to support OFRI's informational programs (such as print, television, and radio ads). Refund applications shall be made on forms provided by OFRI. The term "person" includes legal entities such as partnerships and corporations.
(2) Refund applications must include proof of payment of tax, together with any interest and penalties. Proof of payment may include any of the following: copies of checks, credit card statements, or Department of Revenue receipts for cash payments. If the applicant has paid for more than one tax in a combined payment, the applicant shall identify the amount of Forest Products Harvest Tax paid pursuant to ORS 321.017, eligible for refund from OFRI.
(3) Refund applications, together with proof of payment, must bear the notarized signature of the person seeking the refund certifying the truth of the information contained in the application. If the refund is sought by a business association (such as a corporation or partnership), the application must bear the notarized signature of a person authorized to make the application on the business association's behalf.
(4) Applications which are incomplete, contain erroneous information, or are otherwise deficient will be returned to the person seeking the refund with an explanation of the deficiency. OFRI may request additional information if necessary to evaluate the refund request.
(5) Within 60 days of receipt, OFRI will either provide the refund or return the application as incomplete, inaccurate, or otherwise deficient. OFRI will notify the Department of Revenue of all refunds made pursuant to this rule.
(6) In the event it is determined that a refund was made in excess of the amount authorized by law, OFRI shall request that the taxpayer return the excess.
(7) Any person aggrieved by a decision to deny refund, or to provide a refund in less than the amount sought, may appeal. Appeals shall be in writing, filed with the Executive Director within 30 days of the date of the decision complained of, and shall specifically state all reasons for the appeal and the relief sought.
(a) Applications must be filed by March 1 for refunds of taxes in the previous year. Applications will only be accepted for taxes paid after January, 1, 2003.
(b) Applications may be filed by April 31, 2004 for taxes paid in 2003.