Tax Help with the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)

If you have been contacted by the FTB regarding a tax debt, we can help. The FTB can lien, levy, and garnish unpaid taxes.

The Franchise Tax Board is responsible for administering two of California's major tax programs: Personal income tax and the corporation tax. The FTB also have responsibility for administering the Homeowner and Renter Assistance (HRA) program, and other non-tax programs and delinquent debt collection functions, including child support debt collections and delinquent vehicle registration debt collections on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In general, California tax code conforms to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as of January 1, 2005. However, there are continuing differences between California and federal tax code. These differences may require taxpayers to make adjustments to figures from their federal returns. Certain specific areas of nonconformity are discussed in the affected tax forms instructions.

The following information unique to the California FTB

Collection Action Notification:

Before collection actions are taken on a delinquent tax account the FTB mails a notice of collection action. This notice describes the tax liability, your rights to contest the liability, the consequences of non-compliance, and the deadline to avoid collection actions. If you have moved and did not contact the FTB to update your mailing address, the collection action notification satisfies the due process requirements if the FTB mailed it to your last known address - even if the U.S. Postal Service did not forward it to you. Unfortunately, updating your mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service does not update it with the FTB. You must also contact the FTB to update your address.

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Inability to Pay

If you owe, but cannot pay your taxes by the due date, you should still file your return on time and pay as much as you can. Although there are penalties for late payment of tax, the penalty for late filing of the return is usually higher. After your return is processed, the Franchise Tax Board will send you a bill including penalties and interest.

If you are unable to pay the balance in full by the due date on your notice, you are required by state tax code to complete a Request for Installment Agreement. You may also request an iInstallment agreement online if you:

  • Owe a balance of $10,000 or less
  • Agree to pay your account in 36 months or less
  • Have filed all required personal income tax returns
  • Agree to pay by electronic funds transfer
  • Make monthly payments of $25.00 or more
  • File all future tax returns on time
  • Pay all future tax balances when the are due
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Interest and penalties charged on late filings and payments

If a tax is not paid by the original due date the FTB charges interest on the balance due. Interest compounded daily. If interest is canceled, it is called an "abatement." Interest cannot be abated, except where the tax code provides an exception.

An underpayment penalty will be charged when taxes are not paid by the due date. The penalty is 5 percent of the unpaid tax as of the due date plus 1/2 of 1 percent each month, or part of a month the tax remains unpaid, not to exceed 40 months. The maximum penalty is 25 percent of the total unpaid tax. A delinquent penalty will be charged on unpaid taxes if a return is filed late. The penalty is 5 percent of the unpaid tax due for every month that the return is late, up to a maximum penalty of 25 percent of the unpaid tax. The minimum penalty is $100 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax, whichever is less. There are also other penalties that can be imposed such as for a check returned for insufficient funds, negligence, substantial understatement of tax and fraud. Interest will be charged on any delinquent or late payment from the original due date of the return to the date paid. In addition, if other penalties are not paid within 15 days of the date of the notice, interest will be charged from the date of the billing notice until the date of payment. Interest compounds daily and the interest rate is adjusted twice a year.

Circumstances for Abatement with the California FTB

  • Financial hardship for individuals
  • Erroneous refund for individuals and business entities
  • Reliance on formal written advice for individuals and business entities
  • Disasters
  • FTB/IRS error or delay for individuals and business entities
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Liens filed by the California FTB

A lien is a legal claim against real or personal property to secure a debt. If you have a delinquent tax balance, the FTB may record a lien to secure your tax debt. The lien encumbers your California property, preventing you from refinancing, selling, or transferring it through escrow. In addition, credit bureaus monitor public records for recorded liens. If the FTB records a lien against you, the credit bureaus list it on your credit bureau reports (CBR). This may prevent you from conducting various financial transactions that would increase your debts - such as buying property or obtaining additional credit.

A FTB lien expires ten years from the date the notice was recorded, unless they extend the lien. If a lien expires, the FTB does not send a lien release since it no longer legally exists.

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Offer in Compromise

You may be able to settle your tax debt for less than is owed. This is done with an Offer in Compromise. An offer in compromise is a complex process. You should get professional help in determining if it is right for you.

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Personal Assessment for Business Tax

You may be held personally responsible for your business' tax debt. For instance, sometimes business officers receive excessive funds or other assets from a business, preventing it from paying its tax debts. When this occurs, the officers may become personally liable for the tax debt.

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Power of Attorney with the California FTB

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone else to act on your behalf in matters you specify in the power of attorney document. The state of California accepts the BOE-392 Power of Attorney for this purpose.

Below are links to information on California's other two taxing authorities:

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We strive to save our clients money, time and stress.  Just as there are many different tax related problems, there are many options for tax resolution.  Call us at 888-902-0778 for a free consultation. In a few minutes we will help you to better assess what options are best for your unique situation.

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