The Director’s Office Division provides administrative support for the Director and the department.
The division has eleven units, each with its own duties and responsibilities.
Director Gene Walborn
Gene Walborn, a 28-year veteran employee and manager with the Montana Department of Revenue, was named by Governor Steve Bullock as the department’s director on May 14, 2018.
Gene has a critical leadership role as the department moves forward with its work in tax administration and alcoholic beverage control. He assists with all upper level executive and management activities, including planning, budgeting, policy development, taxpayer affairs, personnel, public information and department activities. In addition, Gene is responsible for coordinating legislative work for the department.
Walborn worked as the department’s Business and Income Tax Division Administrator for nine years. He was responsible for the compliance and valuation of the state’s tax programs associated with all state taxpayers. These taxpayers include the largest multi-national businesses, Montana’s Main Street businesses and individual Montanans.
Walborn began his career with the department in 1990 as a centrally assessed property appraiser and has had ever-increasing responsibilities since then. Walborn graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in finance.
Deputy Director Shauna Helfert
Shauna Helfert began her Deputy Director position in early August 2018. Helfert has been with the department for 24 years. She served most recently as the Property Assessment division administrator. Her prior experience comprises of 12 years as the administrator with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and various roles within the department including taxes and organizational development. She has earned two Governor’s Awards and is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Montana.
Citizen and Financial Services Offices
The Citizen and Financial Services Office consists of the department’s Call Center and accounting units.
The department’s Call Center assists taxpayers, licensees, businesses, and property owner’s by answering questions on the phone and through email, as well as coordinating the eStop Business Licensing and Unclaimed Property programs.
The department’s accounting unit ensures state tax collections and department expenses are properly accounted for and works with leadership to coordinate the administration of the department’s budget. This is achieved by working closely with the governor’s budget office, Legislative Fiscal Division, and the Department of Revenue administrators, ultimately to comply with legislative intent and MCA 17-7 Budgeting and Appropriations.
Communications and Taxpayer Outreach Office
The Communications and Taxpayer Outreach Office houses the department’s web team, media contacts, publication design, training, and the Taxpayer Advocate.
Communications staff provides both technical and creative support for department staff, helping to ensure the department’s messages reach the right audience in the best way possible for that audience.
The Taxpayer Advocate is independent of the department’s divisions so it can provide impartial service. It works to resolve taxpayer issues after the usual channels of problem solving have been exhausted or communications with the department have broken down.
The advocate handles a taxpayer’s procedural issues or disputes with the service or inefficiency of the department, especially those concerning citizen rights guaranteed by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The office also receives complaints about improper or abusive behavior by department employees. The office can help you understand the options and procedures available to resolve your issue. The office does not address issues of fact or law that are considered by the department’s Office of Dispute Resolution.
Enterprise, Planning, and Analysis Office
The Enterprise Planning and Analysis (EPA) Office ensures strategic department initiatives are successful by providing a project approval process, managing active projects, evaluating the strategic needs of the department, and providing recommendations to leadership.
EPA strives to develop a culture of continuous improvement by serving as a center of knowledge on process improvement, providing process improvement services, and collecting measurable data to show improvements.
EPA consolidates information to provide an easily-accessible, transparent model of department activities by providing effective measures of department operations to external entities, gathering a repository of available operational data for analysis, and ensuring the department has the information required to make key decisions.
The Executive Office Staff provides administrative support services for the work units within the Director’s Office.
Human Resources and Organizational Development Office
The Human Resources and Organizational Development Office handles a variety of HR duties including organizational and workforce development, employee and labor relations, staffing, employment law, performance management, compensation, and training and development.
Legal Services Office
Chief Legal Counsel
Legal Services supervises the overall legal efforts of the department, including rules, policies, and bankruptcy.
Office of Dispute Resolution
Administrative Law Judge
Consistent with most federal and state agencies, the Department of Revenue retains an independent adjudicatory office, called the Office of Dispute Resolution. Its purpose is to render fair, objective, and unbiased decisions in tax disputes free from agency influence or direction.
The Hearing Examiners assigned to the ODR are not subject to performance ratings, promotions, demotions, or compensation based upon the number of times she decides in favor of the agency or the taxpayer. Along with all other agency hearing examiners, she assumes a unique status in state government.
It is the Hearing Examiner’s responsibility to render decisions based upon the record and evidence of each case. The decisions are expected to fully explain why one party or another prevails in any given dispute. The administrative rules for the ODR are ARM 42.2.613 through 42.2.621.
Procurement, Contracts, and Facilities Office
The Procurement, Contracts, and Facilities Office is responsible for the department’s purchasing, safety and security, and statewide facility functions.
This office supports the efficient and safe operations of department facilities and conducts disaster and emergency preparedness and continuity of government activities.
This office also works with vendors and contractors to ensure the department’s needs are met in the most efficient, effective, and cost-effective manner.
Chief Security Officer
The Security Office provides the department with the tools, resources, and training to keep taxpayers’ confidential information safe.
The SO keeps department employees up-to-date on potential security issues, both digital and human; provides regular training for employees on the best ways to protect information; inspects department offices and procedures to make sure we are complying with federal and state disclosure laws; and, advises on cybersecurity and disclosure issues.
Tax Policy and Research
Tax Policy and Research (TPR) prepares the legislative fiscal notes that affect revenue and analyzes legislative proposals affecting the department, department economic data, and tax compliance.