The Arizona Department of Revenue was established in 1973 to administer Arizona’s tax laws (Laws 1973, Chapter 123, effective July 1, 1974). Statutory authority is outlined in two titles of Arizona Revised Statutes: Title 42 – Taxation and Title 43 – Taxation of Income.
The mission of the Arizona Department of Revenue is to serve the people of Arizona by administering tax laws with integrity, fairness and efficiency. The Department administers and enforces collection of individual and corporate income tax, transaction privilege (sales), use, luxury, withholding, centrally-assessed property, estate, fiduciary, bingo, and severance taxes. The Department oversees county assessors in the administration of locally-assessed property taxes.
The director is appointed by the Governor, serves as a member of the Governor’s cabinet and is responsible for the direction, operation, and control of the department. The chief deputy director and deputy director assist the director in the day-to-day operations of the department. The chief deputy director serves as acting director when the director is absent. The problem resolution officer acts as the taxpayer advocate within the Department. The senior internal auditor oversees the internal audit team and serves as a liaison with external auditors and the chief human resources officer.
The Department is organized into eight divisions, each managed by an assistant director. Divisions include: Administrative Services, Audit, Collections, Taxpayer and External Services, Information Technology, Process Administration, Property Tax, and Tax Policy and Research. Each division performs specific functions which are integrated to achieve the department’s major objectives of tax collection and processing, enforcement of tax laws, and accurate valuation of property.
The State Tax Commission was established in 1912 to assess and equalize taxes; to exercise general supervision of the state’s taxation system; and to advise and direct Assessors, County Boards of Equalization and County Boards of Supervisors regarding assessment of real and personal property. The Governor appointed three members to the Commission, who also served as ex-officio members of the State Board of Equalization (Laws 1912, Chapter 23).
In 1912, the State Board of Equalization (SBE) was incorporated into the State Tax Commission and in 1967 the SBE duties were transferred to the newly created State Board of Property Tax Appeals. In 1973 the State Board of Property Tax Appeals was renamed the State Board of Tax Appeals. (Arizona State Archives finding guide – Record Group 80.)
From 1935 to 1949 the State Tax Commission regulated horse and dog racing, granted racing licenses and established rules for use of pari-mutuel machines. In 1949, the Arizona Racing Commission was created and assumed racing-related responsibilities from the State Tax Commission. (Arizona State Archives finding guide, Record Group 80.)
The Arizona Department of Revenue was created in 1973 and assumed the responsibilities of the Department of Property Valuation and the Estate Tax Commissioner as well as certain functions of the of the State Tax Commission. The State Board of Tax Appeals was established in 1973, assuming the functions of the State Board of Property Tax Appeals and serving as the appellate board for other taxes. The Department also assumed responsibility for the Division of Unclaimed Property (Laws 1973, Chapter 123, Sections 1, 170 and 171). The effective date of the act was July 1, 1974.
Laws 1978, Chapter 213 repealed and rewrote Title 43 (Taxation of Income) to adopt the provisions of the federal Internal Revenue Code in order to calculate Arizona adjusted gross income tax liabilities for individuals and to calculate taxable income for corporations, trusts, estates and partnerships. The 1978 enactment included a savings clause for “The Income Tax Act of 1933” and “The Income Tax Act of 1954” in order to provide a transition from the old laws to the new law. The 1978 measure was effective for tax years beginning January 1, 1979.
Note: Title 42 was reorganized and renumbered in 1979 (Laws 1979, Chapter 199) and Title 43 was rewritten and renumbered in 1978 (Laws 1978, Chapter 213).
- Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 42 – Taxation (ARS § 42-101 et seq.)
- Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 43 – Taxation of Income ARS §43-101 et seq.)
- Session laws:
- Laws 1912, Chapter 23
- Laws 1973, Chapter 123
- Laws 1978, Chapter 213
- Laws 1979, Chapter 199
- Master List of State Programs
- Joint Legislative Budget Committee: The Joint Legislative Budget Committee Tax Handbook provides a description of each state tax and certain other revenue categories; a history of the collections and distributions for each revenue category; and includes summaries of all statutory revisions. https://www.azleg.gov/jlbc.htm
Related collections at Arizona State Archives:
- Record Group 80 – State Tax Commission
- Record Group 84 – Territorial Board of Equalization
- Record Group 169 – Department of Revenue