Overview

Employers who wish to dispute issues involving coverage, taxes or penalties can request a special hearing with TWC. The conference, called a Rule 13 Hearing, allows the Commission to grant a hearing in any case involving tax liability or any question relating to contributions or reimbursements. A hearing officer appointed by the Commission will conduct a telephone hearing, which includes a Tax Department representative and the employer.  The Commission considers and decides Rule 13 tax cases at their regularly scheduled public meetings.

A request for a Commission Rule 13 tax liability hearing must be submitted in writing to the TWC Tax Department by email, mail or fax, as described on this page under Request for a Rule 13 Hearing.

The appeal process is structured so that you do not need an attorney. You may choose to have an attorney or other person represent you at your own expense.

There are two levels of appeal: 

  1. Request for TWC Rule 13 Hearing
  2. Motion for Reconsideration or Appeal to a Civil Court

Once the Commission has rendered a decision, an employer may file a Motion for Reconsideration or pursue the case in court.

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Request for a Rule 13 Tax Hearing

These instructions are for the first step in the employer’s appeal process, which is a Rule 13 hearing conducted by a hearing officer from the Special Hearings Department.

The first step is to submit a written request to the Tax Department for a hearing:

Email:
taxstatus.rule13hearings@twc.state.tx.us

Mail:
Texas Workforce Commission
Attn: Tax Department/Status Section
101 E 15th St, Rm 514
Austin, TX 78778

Fax: 512-463-9111, Attention: Rule 13 Coordinator

The Rule 13 hearing request must include the business name, address, tax account number, adverse tax determination and reason for the hearing request.

Keep a copy of your hearing request for your records.  You will receive a confirmation letter from the Special Hearings Department once the hearing request and tax file have been received in that department.

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About Rule 13 Tax Hearings

The Special Hearings Department has been designated by the Commission to hold Rule 13 Tax hearings. Each case has a hearing officer designated to preside over the hearing.

The Rule 13 hearing is a telephone hearing, except in limited circumstances where special accommodations are needed.

The employer may present testimony, witnesses and documents relevant to its case. A Tax Department representative will participate in the hearing and present evidence on behalf of the Tax Department. During the Rule 13 hearing, the hearing officer will take all available, relevant evidence into a record for the Commission to consider. The Commission decides the Rule 13 tax liability cases at each weekly, open Commission meeting.

Accommodations for Your Hearing

Inform the Special Hearings Department in writing as early as possible if you need accommodations for the hearing:

  • If you or your witnesses need interpreters – include needed languages
  • If you or your witnesses have a hearing impairment
  • If you need access to a telephone, fax machine or a place to participate in the hearing

Hearing Notification Details

It may take six to eight weeks to receive a hearing information packet with information about your appeal. Special Hearings will mail you the packet 10 to 20 days before your hearing.

The hearing information packet includes:

  • The Notice of Telephone Hearing, which includes the date and time of hearing, the telephone number to call for the hearing, and the name and contact information of the hearing officer assigned to the hearing
  • Instructions on how to participate in the hearing
  • Instructions on how to submit documents for the telephone hearing to the hearing officer and to the Tax Department representative
  • The case issues up for discussion

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Change Your Address

It is important that you keep your mailing address up to date because we will mail the hearing information packet and appeal decision to the address in our records. Change your address with us as needed in writing by mail or fax to the Special Hearings address or fax number listed under Contact Information. Also make sure you inform Special Hearings of any attorney or other party who is hired to represent you in the hearing so they will receive Notices and other correspondence. 

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Preparing for Your Hearing

Allow enough time for your hearing. How long the hearing takes depends on many things, including the number of witnesses, documents, and issues in the case. Usually, hearings take from one to four hours to complete.

It is important to prepare all of the documentation, witnesses and evidence that you need to support your side of the issues. It is your responsibility to make sure that the hearing officer and the Tax Department receive copies of all the documents you wish to refer to before the hearing date. Timely presentation of documents ensures that the record is complete.

Document Evidence You Want to Present at Your Hearing

Case documentation could include:

  • Tax Returns
  • Contracts or other Agreements between the employer and workers
  • Pay records
  • IRS forms such as 1099 or W-2 or W-4
  • Bank Records
  • Webpage Information

All documents must relate directly to the issues on the hearing notice. Be ready to tell who prepared the evidence and how it helps your case.

Any documents you want to present during the hearing must be provided to the hearing officer and to the Tax Department.

  • For a telephone hearing, mail or fax a copy of all of the documents you want to present to the hearing officer and to the Tax Department. Send them as far in advance as possible. Documents might not be used if they are not provided in enough time before the hearing begins.
  • The hearing officer's address and fax number is on the first page of the hearing information packet, along with contact information for the Tax Department representative. If there is another party in your case, that person’s mailing address is on the first or second page.
  • For an in-person hearing, you can bring the documents with you or send them in advance.

Calling Witnesses & Notifying the Hearing Officer

If you wish to call witnesses, they should have personal (first-hand) knowledge about the issues on the hearing notice.

Contact your witnesses before the hearing and have them arrange their schedules so they can participate in the hearing. If the witnesses have not been made aware of the hearing and agreed to participate, the hearing officer might not call them.

During the hearing, you must give the hearing officer your list of witnesses and the contact phone numbers. Have your witnesses remain available for the call until the hearing officer or you release them from the hearing. The witnesses will not be called at the beginning of the hearing.

If your hearing is in person, have your witnesses appear at the hearing location at the time and date for the hearing, or they may participate by phone as stated above.

If You Need to Subpoena Witnesses or Documents

A subpoena is a written legal order that requires a person to appear at a hearing to testify or produce documents for a hearing.

Subpoenas may be issued at the discretion of the hearing officer. A request for a subpoena will be granted only after the hearing officer determines that the records or witnesses requested to be subpoenaed are relevant to the issues on appeal.

TWC pays the applicable fees for issuing a subpoena.

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Withdrawing Your Appeal

If you no longer want to proceed with the hearing, you have the option to withdraw your Rule 13 hearing request.  Only the individual who filed the request can withdraw or cancel the request. A withdrawal request can be made at any time before the Commission issues a decision on the case. The Commission decides whether a withdrawal request is granted.

The withdrawal of your request must be done in writing (mail, fax, or email) or recorded by contacting the hearing officer and also must contain the specific words that you wish to "withdraw your request." The effect of a withdrawal of the request is that the last determination made by the Tax Department will be left in full force and effect.

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Participating in Your Rule 13 Hearing

Before the Hearing

For telephone hearings, you must provide a phone number where we can reach you for the hearing. Provide your contact information on the day of your hearing, at least 30 minutes before your hearing is scheduled to begin.  You can give us your phone number by going online and registering here or by calling the TWC Special Hearings Department at 800-687-4243 and speaking with the receptionist.  Please have your case number ready and tell the receptionist that it is for a tax hearing.

If you do not register before the hearing, you may not be allowed to participate.

Beginning the Hearing

When it is time for the hearing, the hearing officer will call you and your representative (if you have one) and the Tax Department representative and connect you to a conference call. Additional witnesses will be added to the conference as their testimony becomes necessary.

All of the hearings are scheduled for the Central Time zone. If you have any questions about when you should call, please call the toll-free number listed on the Notice of Telephone Hearing.

Why You Should Participate

It is very important that you participate in the tax liability hearing. The Commission makes their decisions entirely on the evidence on the record of the Rule 13 hearing so if you do not participate, the Commission will not have any evidence to consider on your behalf.

If you find you cannot participate in the hearing for any reason, mail or fax a written postponement request as soon as you can. Commission rules allow hearing officers to delay or reschedule hearings only in specific, limited cases.

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What Happens in the Rule 13 Hearing

All hearings are digitally recorded. At the beginning of the hearing, the hearing officer will give an opening statement that includes:

  • Information identifying the case for the record
  • What determination and issues are on appeal
  • A summary of the relevant laws and rules
  • Who is taking part in the hearing
  • Each party’s rights
  • The procedures to be followed

The hearing officer will put everyone who testifies under oath, and then answer questions from the parties about the issues, laws, and procedures before taking any evidence.

If you have more than one person present, you must designate one primary representative, which may be you or your chosen representative. That primary representative will be the only person for each party allowed to:

  • Question the other witnesses
  • Present their party’s documents
  • Examine and object to the other party’s documents
  • Make opening and closing statements

Order of Testimony in a Hearing

The hearing officer will elicit testimony from the employer and any employer witnesses, one at a time.  The hearing officer will question the witnesses, and then allow them to add relevant information.

The hearing officer may discuss any documents that were sent in by the employer or that are part of the case file.

The hearing officer will question the Tax Department representative and/or witness, and allow them an opportunity to add any further relevant information.

The hearing officer may discuss any documents that were sent in by the Tax Department or that are part of the case file.

The hearing officer will then allow both parties to add additional, relevant information before allowing both parties to make closing statements and ending the hearing.

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What to Do If You Did Not Participate in the Hearing

If you did not participate in the Rule 13 hearing, please contact Special Hearings as soon as possible. It is possible that the hearing can simply be rescheduled if a written decision has not yet been issued by the Commission. If you did not participate, receive a written Commission decision, and disagree with the decision, you can submit a Motion for Reconsideration within 30 calendar days after the mailing date of the decision, as described below. However, you must show that you had a good reason for missing the prior hearing.

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After the Hearing

After the hearing is complete, the Commission will review the record of evidence and make a decision in an open meeting. It may take four to six weeks to receive the written decision of the Commission.

Request an Audio Recording of Your Hearing

You can request a CD copy of the recording of your hearing. Your written request must include identifying information:  your name, case number, TWC Tax ID number, telephone number and mailing address.

Mail or fax your request in writing to the TWC Special Hearings Department:

Special Hearings
Texas Workforce Commission
Attn: CD Duplication
101 E 15th St, Rm 414
Austin, TX, 78778

Fax: 512-463-9318, Attention: CD Duplication

It usually takes one to two weeks for you to receive your copy. The first copy is free; there is a small charge for any additional copies. Only the Tax Department, the employer or a designated representative can request a copy of the recording.

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Motion for Reconsideration

If you disagree with the Commission’s decision, you may request a Motion for Reconsideration within 30 calendar days after the date TWC mailed you the Commission decision. The Commission will grant the Motion for Reconsideration only if you show these three things:

  • Important new information about your case
  • A compelling reason why you did not present the new information earlier
  • Why you think the new information could change the Commission decision

You can submit your written Motion for Reconsideration by mail or fax to the address or fax number in the instructions included with your Commission decision. You cannot file a Motion for Reconsideration by telephone. If you choose to fax the information, keep the paperwork that indicates successful transmission of your Motion for Reconsideration.

If you ask for reconsideration and the Commission denies it, you may be able to appeal to a civil court. Contact an attorney if you have questions on that process.

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Appeal to a Civil Court

In most cases, you can file an appeal to civil court after a decision is issued by the Commission. The instructions for submitting an appeal to a civil court are included with the Commission decision, however, any additional questions about that process and whether you should appeal must be directed to an attorney or other professional of your choosing. The Commission cannot give you legal advice. 

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Contact Information