|Public Release Date: March 27, 1998||No. 98-22|
The Minnesota Tax Court was established as a full-time court of record in 1977. The Tax Court is a specialized trial court in the executive branch with state-wide jurisdiction to hear and determine all matters arising out of Minnesota's tax laws. The Governor appoints and the Senate approves each Tax Court judge. Judges serve six year terms and can be reappointed any number of times until retirement. There are currently three judges serving in the Tax Court. The three judges are responsible for designating a chief judge. Kathleen Doar became chief judge in February 1995.
The Tax Court's mission is to provide a timely and equitable disposition of appeals of orders issued by the commissioner of Revenue and local property tax determinations including valuations, classifications, equalizations, or exemptions. It dockets, tracks, schedules, and disposes of all cases filed. The Tax Court hears commissioner of Revenue appeals in Ramsey County or will travel to the county in which the taxpayer resides. Members also travel to hear property tax cases in the county where the property is located. Most appeals are scheduled and disposed of within one year of filing.
The objectives of our audit were to gain an understanding of the internal control structure over the accounting and reporting of the Tax Court's financial activities and to determine if the Court complied with material finance-related legal provisions. The areas covered by our audit were payroll, rent, and other material administrative expenditures for the period July 1, 1994, through June 30, 1997.
We concluded that the Tax Court designed and implemented internal controls to provide reasonable assurance that transactions were properly authorized and accurately reported in the state's accounting system. We also found that the Tax Court generally complied with applicable statutory provisions and related bargaining units. However, the Tax Court was not adequately following the state's travel policies and procedures.
The Minnesota Tax Court agreed with the finding and developed an internal mileage policy and expense form to facilitate the state policy.