The following words and phrases, when used in this division, shall mean the following unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "OFRI" means the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.
(2) "Board" means the Oregon Forest Resources Institute Board of Directors, inclusive of elected, appointed, and ex officio members.
(3) "Chairperson", "Chairman" or "Chair" means the Chairperson of the OFRI Board of Directors.
(4) "Committee" means a committee of the OFRI Board of Directors.
(5) "Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.
Harvest Tax Rate for OFRI
(1) The OFRI Board of Directors shall establish prior to July of each year the rate of privilege tax levied through the harvest tax, pursuant to ORS 321.017.
(2) The privilege tax rate established annually by the OFRI Board of Directors shall not exceed or be contradictory to the limits set forth in the authorities established by ORS 321.017.
(3) In order to carry out the duties, functions, and powers of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute Board of Directors will set the annual privilege tax rate levied through the harvest tax according to the following criteria:
(a) Resources needed to implement the Oregon Forest Resources Institute's budgetary programs;
(b) Estimated harvest projections as determined by the Oregon Department of Forestry and the state economist.
(4) The Institute Board of Directors may adjust the maximum tax rate prescribed by ORS 321.017 by the average annual increase in the Consumer Price Index for the preceding year, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, for Portland, Oregon, whenever it determines the existing maximum rate may be inadequate to meet anticipated increases in the Institute's program costs, given projected harvest levels.
(5) Opportunity for public comment on the annual privilege tax rate levied through the harvest tax as set by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute Board of Directors will be provided as part of the annual public meeting on the Oregon Forest Resources Institute's proposed budget. Public notice of the meeting will be given at least 14 days prior to the date of the meeting. Copies of the budget will be available for public inspection under reasonable circumstances in the office of the State Forester and the office of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.
[Publications: The publication(s) referred to or incorporated by reference in this rule are available from the agency.]
Refund of Tax Used for Publications
Preamble: These rules implement legislation adopted in 2003 in response to recent federal court decisions involving mandatory assessments by agricultural commodity commissions. In some of these cases the courts have held that commodity commissions may not require growers to contribute to advertising, product promotion, and similar forms of speech. It is not clear that these cases apply to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, nor the information which it produces and distributes. Nevertheless, in order to reduce the likelihood of legal challenge, these rules permit tax payers who might disagree with OFRI's activities the opportunity to seek a refund of that portion of the Forest Products Harvest tax which supports OFRI's informational programs.
(1) Any person who has paid Forest Products Harvest Tax pursuant to ORS 321.017 may apply to OFRI for a refund of that portion of the tax used to support OFRI's informational programs (such as print, television, and radio ads). Refund applications shall be made on forms provided by OFRI. The term "person" includes legal entities such as partnerships and corporations.
(2) Refund applications must include proof of payment of tax, together with any interest and penalties. Proof of payment may include any of the following: copies of checks, credit card statements, or Department of Revenue receipts for cash payments. If the applicant has paid for more than one tax in a combined payment, the applicant shall identify the amount of Forest Products Harvest Tax paid pursuant to ORS 321.017, eligible for refund from OFRI.
(3) Refund applications, together with proof of payment, must bear the notarized signature of the person seeking the refund certifying the truth of the information contained in the application. If the refund is sought by a business association (such as a corporation or partnership), the application must bear the notarized signature of a person authorized to make the application on the business association's behalf.
(4) Applications which are incomplete, contain erroneous information, or are otherwise deficient will be returned to the person seeking the refund with an explanation of the deficiency. OFRI may request additional information if necessary to evaluate the refund request.
(5) Within 60 days of receipt, OFRI will either provide the refund or return the application as incomplete, inaccurate, or otherwise deficient. OFRI will notify the Department of Revenue of all refunds made pursuant to this rule.
(6) In the event it is determined that a refund was made in excess of the amount authorized by law, OFRI shall request that the taxpayer return the excess.
(7) Any person aggrieved by a decision to deny refund, or to provide a refund in less than the amount sought, may appeal. Appeals shall be in writing, filed with the Executive Director within 30 days of the date of the decision complained of, and shall specifically state all reasons for the appeal and the relief sought.
(8)(a) Applications must be filed by March 1 for refunds of taxes in the previous year. Applications will only be accepted for taxes paid after January, 1, 2003.
(b) Applications may be filed by April 31, 2004 for taxes paid in 2003.
[ED. NOTE: Applications referenced are available from the agency.]
Stat. Auth.: ORS 526.645(6)
Stats. Implemented: ORS 526.675
Hist.: OFRI 1-2004, f. & cert. ef. 7-1-04
Compensation for OFRI Board Members, Officers, and Employees
For purpose of board members, officers, and employees of OFRI receiving their actual and necessary travel and other expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties the OFRI board adopts the following rules governing the incurring and paying of such expenses:
(1) OFRI board members, officers and employees may receive reimbursement for their actual and necessary travel expenses and other expenses incurred in performance of their official duties. OFRI board members, officers and employees are not eligible to receive a per diem allowance. Receipts are required for all instate and out-of-state meal and lodging travel expenses incurred.
(2) There will be no reimbursement for the expenses of the spouse of a board member, officer or employee.
(3) Prior approval must be obtained from the OFRI Chairperson, in writing, for out-of-state travel more than 150 miles beyond Oregon's border or for foreign travel. Travel should be by the most direct route, by the method most advantageous to OFRI, and at the general public fare rate (i.e., coach class). Factors considered in determining what is most advantageous to OFRI include, but are not limited to, cost (including time involved in travel); objective of the trip; public image; consistency with the state's energy conservation policies and consistency with any contracts the state may have for providing travel services.
(4) OFRI shall use the following guidance in incurring actual and necessary travel expenses:
(a) A board member, officer, or employee, in the course of official OFRI business, may opt to use his/her private vehicle and be reimbursed for mileage at the current private car mileage rate set by the federal Internal Revenue Service and other automobile travel expenses such as parking fees, bridge tolls, etc.;
(b) During travel periods, actual costs of lodging, meals and miscellaneous travel expenses (taxis, telephone charges, registration fees, etc.) shall be paid by OFRI. However, no meals or lodging may be compensated for board members, officers, or employees who travel within 25 miles of their home or official work station. The exception to this case is if such travel is related to special events (conferences, conventions, fairs, etc.);
(c) OFRI may cover the costs of meals for persons other than board members, officers, and employees of OFRI and may claim reimbursement for approved travel expenses of another state employee or state agency officer upon substantiation that such costs were in the furtherance of OFRI business affairs. Claims for travel expenses of another state employee or state agency officer may be reimbursed only if the employee or state agency officer is traveling and appearing in an official capacity and the event requiring travel bears a relationship to the employee's or state agency officer's official duties or office. Reimbursement shall not be allowed for claims that do not have sufficient documentation substantiating such expenses (i.e., attached agenda, or written authorization from the OFRI Chairperson);
(d) OFRI may reimburse eligible non-state employees (e.g., a member of an advisory committee appointed by the OFRI Chairperson or OFRI Executive Director, an applicant interviewing for state employment, a volunteer working for OFRI, or a person providing a service to OFRI through a personal services contract relationship) for approved costs incurred for travel, meals and lodging while conducting OFRI business. Requests for reimbursement for expenses by eligible non-state employees shall be submitted within 30 days after the month in which expenses are incurred. Reimbursement shall not be allowed for claims that do not have sufficient documentation substanti-ating such expenses;
(e) OFRI shall not pay for or reimburse for the cost of, including but not limited to, personal expenses (such as newspapers, magazines, personal purchases and other non-travel related expenses) or for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. The board may allow limited reimbursement for personal telephone calls when members, officers or employees travel overnight;
(f) Reimbursement up to 15 percent of receipt cost for gratuity is allowed. When a gratuity of less than 15 percent is paid, only the amount paid shall be claimed. Gratuity shall be documented on meal receipt;
(g) The board may prescribe the type of receipts required to document authorized travel and other expenses and the required form of documentation or expense records to support reimbursement for such expenses. Travel reimbursement for board members, officers and employees shall be submitted on the form prescribed by OFRI within 30 days after the month in which the expenses were incurred;
(h) Claims may only cover the actual days of the meeting, activity, or function plus "acceptable reasonable time" to reach the intended destination and return. The board may prescribe the circumstances under which reimbursement for overnight and non-overnight travel meals are allowed;
(i) If an OFRI board member, officer, or employee is engaged in foreign travel, the OFRI Chairperson is authorized to establish special travel expense provisions applicable to the particular travel undertaken;
(j) With prior authorization obtained from the OFRI Chairperson or OFRI Executive Director, a cash advance for travel or other expenses may be made to a board member, officer, or employee. Request for cash advances must be in written form documenting the specific cost(s) needing to be covered. If the travel advance is in excess of expenses incurred, cash repayment must be made to OFRI on or before the tenth day following the month in which the authorized travel ended and shall accompany the itemized request for travel expense reimbursement;
(k) If an OFRI board member, officer, or employee should elect to decline payment for compensation for expenses for a given period of time, as set forth in this rule, then the individual must submit a signed statement to that effect to the OFRI Chairperson. After declining payment, a board member, officer, or employee may at any subsequent date choose to accept payment by submitting a written statement to the OFRI Chairperson indicating such a change. An OFRI board member, officer, or employee may not receive payment for expenses, current or retroactive, during a period they have set forth in writing to the OFRI Chairperson as declining compensation.
Charges for Copying and Purchasing Public Records
Pursuant to ORS 192.430 and 192.440, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute establishes the following fees for copying and purchasing public records:
(1) Copy charges:
(a) Fees will not be charged for copies of materials which the Executive Director determines to be appropriate for dissemination without charge under ORS 526.640. Fees for other materials and records will be charged as provided in this rule;
(b) A fee of 25 cents an image will be charged for copies made on standard office copy machines. This fee may be waived if fees total less than $2;
(c) The charge for certifying copies of public records shall be $5 for the first ten pages and 25 cents for each additional page. This is in addition to other fees charged;
(d) Office service labor will be charged for any service requiring excessive time beyond what is usually offered by the Institute as free public service for research, compilation, and supervision of public records use. This shall be at the hourly rate of the employee or employees selected to do the job, plus the current percentage for other personnel expenses. Employees will be selected based on the needed skills and availability. An average hourly rate may be used if more than one employee is required.
(2) Computer Processing Charges:
(a) Actual computer time will be charged for the specific job;
(b) Programmer, analyst, and clerical support time will charged at rates noted in subsection (1)(d) of this rule;
(c) A fee of 15 cents a page for computer printout will be charged;
(d) Other supplies will be charged at actual cost;
(e) A minimum fee of $5 will be charged for computer processing.
(3) Other charges:
(a) Established costs will be charged for any documents published by the Institute, including booklets, studies and other materials;
(b) Actual costs will be charged for tape recordings, photographs, video tapes and other materials;
(c) Actual costs will be charged for mailing and shipping.
IRS Retirement "Pick Up"
(1) OFRI shall designate any employee contribution to PERS from the employees' salaries as the employer's contribution, thus "picking up" its employees' PERS contributions for purposes of Internal Revenue Code 26 USC §414(h)(2).
(2) The contribution shall be deducted directly from the employee's wages so that the employee does not have the option of receiving his or her contributions as salary and of making the contribution himself or herself.
(3) OFRI employees' reported salary on the W-2 form for tax purposes shall be reduced by the amount of PERS contribution.