Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2011
Sales And Use Tax Law
CHAPTER 10. VIOLATIONS
- 7151. Criminal penalties. [Repealed.]
- 7152. Criminal penalties.
- 7153. Same.
- 7153.5. Same.
- 7154. Statute of limitations.
- 7155. 50 percent penalty.
- 7156. Civil proceedings.
CHAPTER 10. VIOLATIONS
7152. Criminal penalties. (a) Any person required to make, render, sign, or verify any report who makes any false or fraudulent return, with intent to defeat or evade the determination of an amount due required by law to be made is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable as provided in Section 7153.
(b) Any person who willfully aids or assists in, or procures, counsels, or advises in, the preparation or presentation, in connection with any matter arising under this part, of a return, affidavit, claim, or other document that is fraudulent or false as to any material matter, whether or not the falsity or fraud is with the knowledge or consent of the person authorized or required to present the return, affidavit, claim, or document, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable as provided in Section 7153.
History.—Added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 36. Stats. 1984, Ch. 1490, effective September 27, 1984, deleted all text after "misdemeanor," and added "punishable . . . Section 7153" after "misdemeanor." Stats. 1994, Ch. 903, in effect January 1, 1995, added subdivision letter designation (a) before first paragraph and added subdivision (b).
7153. Same. Any violation of this part by any person, except as otherwise provided, is a misdemeanor. Each offense shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment not exceeding one year in the county jail, or both the fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
History.—Added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 36. Stats. 1984, Ch. 1490, effective September 27, 1984, deleted all text after "part" and added "by any person . . . of the court" after "part."
7153.5. Same. Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, any person who violates this part with intent to defeat or evade the reporting, assessment, or payment of a tax or an amount due required by law to be made is guilty of a felony when the amount of unreported tax liability aggregates twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or more in any 12-consecutive-month period. Each offense shall be punished by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or imprisonment for 16 months, two years, or three years, or both the fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
History.—Added by Stats. 1987, Ch. 1064, effective January 1, 1988. Stats. 1989, Ch. 654, in effect January 1, 1990, substituted "Deputy Director, Business Taxes," for "principal tax auditor," and "designee" for "supervisor" in the second sentence. Stats. 1992, Ch. 902, in effect September 25, 1992, operative January 1, 1993, substituted "person who violates" for "violation" after "part, any", deleted "by any person" after "this part" in the first sentence and deleted former second sentence which stated, "The determination shall be approved by the Deputy Director, Business Taxes, or that person's designee." Stats. 1994, Ch. 903, in effect January 1, 1995, substituted "reporting . . . a tax or" for "determination of" after "evade the" and added "unreported" after "amount of" in the first sentence.
7154. Statute of limitations. Any prosecution for violation of any of the penal provisions of this part shall be instituted within five years after the commission of the offense, or within two years after the violation is discovered, whichever is later.
History.—Added by Stats. 1953, p. 3385, in effect September 9, 1953. Stats. 1986, Ch. 1361, effective January 1, 1987, added, "or within two years after the violation is discovered, whichever is later." Stats. 1992, Ch. 902, in effect September 25, 1992, operative January 1, 1993, substituted "five" for "three" after "instituted within".
Note.—Sec. 41, Stats. 1986, Ch. 1361 required that:
(a) On January 15 of each year from 1988 to 1992, inclusive, the State Board of Equalization and the Franchise Tax Board shall submit a report to the Legislature on implementation of the provisions of this act, with the exception of Section 40 of this act (for which separate reporting requirements are set out).
(b) The revenue and taxation policy committees of each house of the Legislature shall hold a public hearing no later than June 30 of each year from 1988 to 1992, inclusive, on the reports submitted pursuant to subdivision (a).
(c) The intent of this section is to assure the Legislature the opportunity to oversee the implementation of this act. The intent of the Legislature in enacting this act is to improve enforcement and voluntary compliance with the tax system and cash-pay reporting rules. The intent of the Legislature in enacting this act is not to cause harassment of or undue burden on innocent taxpayers.
Sec. 41 applies to the following Revenue and Taxation Code Sections: 6069, 6071, 6366, 6366.1, 6368, 6368.1, 6452, 6455, 6776, 6777, 7154, 8404, 9355, 30481, 32556, 40188, 41143, and 44186.
7155. 50 percent penalty. (a) Any person who, for the purpose of evading the payment of taxes due under this part, knowingly fails to obtain a valid permit prior to the date on which the first tax return is due shall be liable for a penalty of 50 percent of any tax determined to be due for the period during which the person engaged in business in this state as a seller without a valid permit.
(b) This section shall not apply to any person whose measure of tax liability over the period during which he or she was engaged in business in this state as a seller without a valid permit averaged one thousand dollars ($1,000) or less per month.
(c) This section shall not apply to the amount of taxes due on the sale or use of a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft, if the amount is subject to the penalty imposed by Section 6485.1 or Section 6514.1.
History.—Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1490, effective September 27, 1984.
(1) Brought by or against the State of California in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax, interest, or penalty under this part, and
(2) Brought in a court of record of this state, the prevailing party may be awarded a judgment for reasonable litigation costs incurred in that proceeding.
(b) (1) A judgment for reasonable litigation costs shall not be awarded under subdivision (a) unless the court determines that the prevailing party has exhausted the administrative remedies available to that party under this part.
(2) An award under subdivision (a) shall be made only for reasonable litigation costs which are allocable to the State of California and not to any other party to the action or proceeding.
(3) No award for reasonable litigation costs may be made under subdivision (a) with respect to any declaratory judgment proceeding.
(4) No award for reasonable litigation costs may be made under subdivision (a) with respect to any portion of the civil proceeding during which the prevailing party has unreasonably protracted that proceeding.
(c) For purposes of this section—
(1) The term "reasonable litigation costs" includes any of the following:
(A) Reasonable court costs.
(B) Based upon prevailing market rates for the kind or quality of services furnished any of the following:
(i) The reasonable expenses of expert witnesses in connection with the civil proceeding, except that no expert witness shall be compensated at a rate in excess of the highest rate of compensation for expert witnesses paid by the State of California.
(ii) The reasonable cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, or project which is found by the court to be necessary for the preparation of the party's case.
(iii) Reasonable fees paid or incurred for the services of attorneys in connection with the civil proceeding, except that those fees shall not be in excess of seventy-five dollars ($75) per hour unless the court determines that an increase in the cost of living or a special factor, such as the limited availability of qualified attorneys for the proceeding, justifies a higher rate.
(2) (A) The term "prevailing party" means any party to any proceeding described in subdivision (a) (other than the State of California or any creditor of the taxpayer involved) which—
(i) Establishes that the position of the State of California in the civil proceeding was not substantially justified, and
(ii) (I) Has substantially prevailed with respect to the amount in controversy, or
(II) Has substantially prevailed with respect to the most significant issue or set of issues presented.
(B) Any determination under subparagraph (A) as to whether a party is a prevailing party shall be made—
(i) By the court, or
(ii) By agreement of the parties.
(3) The term "civil proceeding" includes a civil action.
(d) For purposes of this section, in the case of—
(1) Multiple actions which could have been joined or consolidated, or
(2) A case or cases involving a return or returns of the same taxpayer which could have been joined in a single proceeding in the same court, these actions or cases shall be treated as one civil proceeding regardless of whether the joinder or consolidation actually occurs, unless the court in which the action is brought determines, in its discretion, that it would be inappropriate to treat these actions or cases as joined or consolidated for purposes of this section.
(e) An order granting or denying an award for reasonable litigation costs under subdivision (a), in whole or in part, shall be incorporated as a part of the decision or judgment in the case and shall be subject to appeal in the same manner as the decision or judgment.
(f) For purposes of this section, "position of the State of California" includes either of the following:
(1) The position taken by the State of California in the civil proceeding.
(2) Any administrative action or inaction by the State Board of Equalization (and all subsequent administrative action or inaction) upon which that proceeding is based.
History.—Added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1138, in effect January 1, 1989.
Costs awarded under Taxpayer's Bill of Rights should not be offset.—Litigation costs awarded under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights are not an ordinary debt to the taxpayer which can be offset under Government Code sections 12419.4 and 12419.5. Garg v. State Board of Equalization(1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 199.
This section complements, but does not supplant, provisions for awards of costs under Code of Civil Procedure.—If the trial court determines that the state's position was not "substantially justified" as provided in section 7156, claimant may be awarded "reasonable litigation costs," including reasonable attorney fees. The court may, despite finding that the Board's position was substantially justified, award costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 1032. Agnew v. State Board of Equalization (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 899.