Submitted August 22, 2017
from the Board of Tax Appeals, No. 2015-263.
Brown Todd, L.L.C., Matthew C. Blickensderfer, Jeremy A.
Hayden, and Mark F. Sommer, for appellant.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Daniel W. Fausey and
Raina Nahra Boulos, Assistant Attorneys General, for
1} Appellant, NASCAR Holdings, Inc.
("NASCAR"), challenges the decision of the Board of
Tax Appeals ("BTA") dismissing NASCAR's notice
of appeal solely because it was filed by an attorney who was
not licensed to practice law in Ohio. For the reasons that
follow, we reverse the BTA's decision and remand for
Facts and Procedural Background
2} The Department of Taxation conducted an audit and
found that NASCAR had failed to file commercial-activity tax
("CAT") returns and to pay the CAT for more than
five years, from July 1, 2005, to December 31, 2010. The
department issued an assessment against NASCAR for $549, 520.
3} NASCAR filed a petition for reassessment with
appellee, the tax commissioner. On January 5, 2015, the
commissioner issued his final determination, rejecting
NASCAR's arguments and affirming the assessment.
4} NASCAR then filed a notice of appeal to the Board
of Tax Appeals, challenging the tax commissioner's final
determination. The notice of appeal was signed by
"Michael J. Bowen, POA." Bowen is a Florida-based
attorney who is not licensed to practice law in Ohio.
5} On May 8, 2015, the tax commissioner filed a
motion to dismiss. The commissioner argued that because Bowen
had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law when he filed
the notice of appeal on NASCAR's behalf, the BTA lacked
jurisdiction over the appeal.
6} NASCAR conceded that Bowen was neither admitted
to the Ohio bar nor registered for pro hac vice status when
he filed the notice of appeal.  NASCAR, however, asserted that
Bowen's lack of authority to practice law in Ohio was
irrelevant to whether his filing of the notice of appeal
properly invoked the BTA's jurisdiction.
7} On June 15, 2015, the BTA granted the motion and
dismissed the appeal. The BTA found that Bowen had engaged in
the unauthorized practice of law when he prepared and filed
the notice of appeal with the BTA on NASCAR's behalf. The
BTA further held that this rendered the notice of appeal void
ab initio, thereby depriving the board of jurisdiction over
NASCAR's appeal. NASCAR appealed to this court.