(a) If the Commissioner of Agriculture discovers from the examination of any report filed by a taxpayer or otherwise that any fee or tax or additional fee or tax is due from any taxpayer, he shall give notice to the taxpayer in writing of the kind and amount of fee or tax which is due and of his intent to assess the same, which notice shall contain advice to the effect that unless application for a rehearing is made within the time specified in subsection (c), the proposed assessment will become conclusive and final.
If the Commissioner is unable to obtain from the taxpayer adequate and reliable information upon which to base such assessment, the assessment may be made upon the basis of the best information available and, subject to the provisions hereinafter made, such assessment shall be deemed correct.
(b) The notice required to be given in subsection (a) may be delivered to the taxpayer by an agent of the Commissioner or may be sent by mail to the last known address of the taxpayer and such notice will be deemed to have been received in due course of the mail unless the taxpayer shall make an affidavit to the contrary within 90 days after such notice is mailed, in which event the taxpayer shall be heard by the Commissioner in all respects as if he had made timely application.
(c) Any taxpayer who objects to a proposed assessment of fee or tax or additional fee or tax shall be entitled to a hearing before the Commissioner of Agriculture, provided application therefor is made in writing within 30 days after the mailing or delivery of the notice required by subsection (a). If application for a hearing is made in due time, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall set a time and place for the hearing and after considering the taxpayer's objections shall give written notice of his decision to the taxpayer. The amount of fee or tax or additional fee or tax due from the taxpayer as finally determined by the Commissioner shall thereupon be assessed and upon assessment shall become immediately due and collectible.
Provided, the taxpayer may request the Commissioner at any time within 30 days of notice of such proposed assessment for a written statement, or transcript, of the information and the evidence upon which the proposed assessment is based, and the Commissioner of Agriculture shall furnish such statement, or transcript, to the taxpayer. Provided, further, after request by the taxpayer for such written statement, or transcript, the taxpayer shall have 30 days after the receipt of the same from the Commissioner of Agriculture to apply in writing for such hearing, explaining in detail his objections to such proposed assessment. If no request for such hearing is so made, such proposed assessment shall be final and conclusive.
(d) If no timely application for a hearing is made within 30 days after notice of a proposed assessment of fee or tax or additional fee or tax is given pursuant to subsection (a), such proposed fee or tax or additional fee or tax assessment shall become final without further notice and shall be immediately due and collectible.
(e) Where a proper report has been filed by a taxpayer and in the absence of fraud, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall assess any fee or tax or additional fee or tax due from the taxpayer within three years after the date upon which such report is filed or within three years after the date upon which such report was required by law to be filed, whichever is the later. If no report has been filed, and in the absence of fraud, any fee or tax or additional fee or tax due from a taxpayer may be assessed at any time within five years after the date upon which such report was required by law to be filed. In the event a false and fraudulent report has been filed or there has been an attempt in any manner to fraudulently defeat or evade a fee or tax, any fee or tax or additional fee or tax due from the taxpayer may be assessed at any time.
(f) Except as hereinafter provided in subsection (g), the Commissioner of Agriculture shall have no authority to assess any fee or tax or additional fee or tax under this section until the notice required by subsection (a) shall have been given and the period within which an application for a hearing may be filed has expired, or if a timely application for a hearing if filed, until written notice of the Commissioner's decision has been given to the taxpayer, provided, however that if the notice required by subsection (a) shall be mailed or delivered within the limitation prescribed in subsection (e), such limitation shall be deemed to have been complied with and the proceeding may be carried forward to its conclusion.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall have authority at any time within the applicable period of limitations to proceed at once to assess any fee or tax or additional fee or tax which he finds is due from a taxpayer if, in his opinion, the collection of such fee or tax is in jeopardy and immediate assessment is necessary in order to protect the interest of the State, provided, however, that if an assessment is made pursuant to the authority set forth in this subsection before the notice required by subsection (a) is given, such assessment shall not be valid unless the notice required by subsection (a) shall be given within 30 days after the date of such assessment.
(h) All assessments of fees or taxes or additional fees or taxes (exclusive of penalties assessed thereon) shall bear interest at the rate of one half of one percent (0.5%) per month or fraction thereof from the time said fees or taxes or additional fees or taxes were due to have been paid until paid. (1963, c. 458.)