Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2011
 

Energy Resources Surcharge Law

CHAPTER 4. DETERMINATION OF SURCHARGE.



CHAPTER 4. DETERMINATION OF SURCHARGE.

Article 1. Due and Payable Dates

40051. Surcharges due. The surcharges imposed by this part and the amounts thereof required to be collected by electric utilities are due quarterly on or before the last day of the month next succeeding each calendar quarter.

40052. Surcharges payable. Amounts due under Section 40051 for which a billing for the electrical energy is issued by an electric utility to the consumer prior to the close of a calendar quarter are payable when due.

40053. Determination of surcharges not billed in ordinary course of billing. Any amounts of the surcharge required to be paid or collected that are not billed in the ordinary course of the billings by an electric utility may be determined by the board against the utility or the consumer, or both, in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 (commencing with Section 40071) or 4 (commencing with Section 40081) of this chapter.

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Article 2. Returns and Payments

40061. Return. On or before the last day of the month following each calendar quarter, a return for the preceding quarterly period shall be filed with the board in the form as prescribed by the board, which may include, but not be limited to, electronic media.

A return shall be filed by every electric utility and by every person purchasing electrical energy, the consumption of which is subject to the surcharge and who has not paid the surcharge billed and required to be collected by an electric utility. The return shall be signed by the person required to file the return or by his or her duly authorized agent. Returns shall be authenticated in a form or pursuant to methods as may be prescribed by the board.

History.—Stats. 2002, Ch. 459 (AB 1936), in effect January 1, 2003, added a comma after "calendar quarter", substituted "in the form . . . electronic media" for "in such a form as the board may prescribe" after "with the board" in the first paragraph; added a comma after "electrical energy" in the first sentence of, added "or her" after "by his" in the second sentence of, and added the fourth sentence to, the second paragraph.

40062. Contents of return. The return filed by an electric utility shall show the number of kilowatt-hours of electrical energy sold to consumers in this state for which billing was first made during that quarter that are due and required to be collected for all such billings. The return shall further show the number of kilowatt-hours of electrical energy purchased by the electric utility during the calendar quarter and the number of kilowatt-hours of electrical energy generated by such electric utility during such period. Such return shall also set forth the number of kilowatt-hours consumed during such period by the electric utility for its own use and consumption and such other information as the board deems necessary for the proper administration of this part.

40063. Consumers' returns. The board may prescribe the contents of returns of consumers subject to the surcharge. It may require the filing of returns by consumers in addition to those required by Section 40061 in circumstances where it finds that consumers' liabilities are not being included in the return of an electric utility or it determines that consumer returns are necessary for the efficient administration of this part. Consumers' returns shall cover the periods as the board may prescribe and shall be in the form as prescribed by the board, which may include, but not be limited to, electronic media. Returns shall be authenticated in a form or pursuant to methods as may be prescribed by the board.

History.—Stats. 2002, Ch. 459 (AB 1936), in effect January 1, 2003, substited "the" for "such" after "shall cover", and added "and shall be in the form as prescribed by . . . electronic media" after "board may prescribe" in the third sentence, and added the fourth sentence.

40064. Filing return. The person required to file the return shall deliver the return together with a remittance of the amount of the surcharge payable to the office of the board.

40065. Extensions. The board for good cause may extend not to exceed one month the time for making any return or paying any amount required to be paid under this part. The extension may be granted at any time provided a request therefor is filed with the board within or prior to the period for which the extension may be granted.

Any person to whom an extension is granted shall pay, in addition to the surcharge, interest at the modified adjusted rate per month, or fraction thereof, established pursuant to Section 6591.5, from the date on which the surcharge would have been due without the extension of the date of payment.

History.—Stats. 1977, Ch. 624, added the second paragraph. Stats. 1983, Ch. 5, First Extra Session, in effect May 27, 1982, substituted "adjusted . . . 19269" for "rate . . . thereof" before "from" in the second paragraph. Stats. 1984, Ch. 1020, operative July 1, 1985, added "modified" before "adjusted," deleted "annual" before "rate," substituted "Section 6591.5" for "Section 19269".

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Article 2.1. Payment by Electronic Funds Transfer

40067. Electronic funds transfer payments. (a) Any person whose estimated surcharge liability under this part averages twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) or more per month, as determined by the board pursuant to methods of calculation prescribed by the board, shall remit amounts due by an electronic funds transfer under procedures prescribed by the board.

(b) Any person whose estimated surcharge liability under this part averages less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) per month may elect to remit amounts due by electronic funds transfer with the approval of the board.

(c) Any person remitting amounts due pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) shall perform electronic funds transfer in compliance with the due dates set forth in Article 1 (commencing with Section 40051) and Article 2 (commencing with Section 40061). Payment is deemed complete on the date the electronic funds transfer is initiated if settlement to the state's demand account occurs on or before the banking day following the date the transfer is initiated. If settlement to the state's demand account does not occur on or before the banking day following the date the transfer is initiated, payment is deemed to occur on the date settlement occurs.

(d) Any person remitting surcharges by electronic funds transfer shall, on or before the due date of the remittance, file a return for the preceding reporting period in the form and manner prescribed by the board. Any person who fails to timely file the required return shall pay a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the surcharge with respect to the period for which the return is required.

(e) Any person required to remit surcharges pursuant to this article who remits those surcharges by means other than appropriate electronic funds transfer shall pay a penalty of 10 percent of the surcharges incorrectly remitted.

(f) Any person who fails to pay any surcharge to the state or any amount of surcharge required to be collected and paid to the state, except amounts of determinations made by the board under Article 3 (commencing with Section 40071) or Article 4 (commencing with Section 40081), within the time required shall pay a penalty of 10 percent of the surcharge or amount of surcharge, in addition to the surcharge or amount of surcharge, plus interest at the modified adjusted rate per month, or fraction thereof, established pursuant to Section 6591.5, from the date on which the surcharge or the amount of surcharge required to be collected became due and payable to the state until the date of payment.

(g) In determining whether a person's estimated surcharge liability averages twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) or more per month, the board may consider returns filed pursuant to this part and any other information in the board's possession.

(h) The penalties imposed by subdivisions (d), (e), and (f) shall be limited to a maximum of 10 percent of the surcharge due for any one return. Any person remitting surcharges by electronic funds transfer shall be subject to the penalties under this section and not Section 40101.

(i) The board shall promulgate regulations pursuant to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code for purposes of implementing this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 923 (AB 2894) in effect January 1, 2001. Stats. 2005, Ch. 519 (AB 1765), in effect October 4, 2005, operative January 1, 2006, deleted the former last sentence of subdivision (b) which provided "The election shall be operative for a minimum of one year."

40068. Relief of penalty. If the board finds that a person's failure to make payment by an appropriate electronic funds transfer in accordance with board procedures is due to reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the person's control, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and in the absence of willful neglect, that person shall be relieved of the penalty provided in subdivision (e) of Section 40067. Any person seeking to be relieved of the penalty shall file with the board a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts upon which he or she bases his or her claim for relief.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 923 (AB 2894) in effect January 1, 2001.

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40069. Definitions. (a) "Electronic funds transfer" means any transfer of funds, other than a transaction originated by check, draft, or similar paper instrument, that is initiated through an electronic terminal, telephonic instrument, or computer or magnetic tape, so as to order, instruct, or authorize a financial institution to debit or credit an account. Electronic funds transfers shall be accomplished by an automated clearinghouse debit, an automated clearinghouse credit, or by Federal Reserve Wire Transfer (Fedwire).

(b) "Automated clearinghouse" means any federal reserve bank, or an organization established in agreement with the National Automated Clearing House Association, that operates as a clearinghouse for transmitting or receiving entries between banks or bank accounts and which authorizes an electronic transfer of funds between these banks or bank accounts.

(c) "Automated clearinghouse debit" means a transaction in which the state, through its designated depository bank, originates an automated clearinghouse transaction debiting the person's bank account and crediting the state's bank account for the amount of surcharge. Banking costs incurred for the automated clearinghouse debit transaction shall be paid by the state.

(d) "Automated clearinghouse credit" means an automated clearinghouse transaction in which the person through his or her own bank, originates an entry crediting the state's bank account and debiting his or her own bank account. Banking costs incurred for the automated clearinghouse credit transaction charged to the state shall be paid by the person originating the credit.

(e) "Fedwire transfer" means any transaction originated by a person and utilizing the national electronic payment system to transfer funds through the federal reserve banks, when that person debits his or her own bank account and credits the state's bank account. Electronic funds transfers pursuant to Section 40067 may be made by Fedwire only if payment cannot, for good cause, be made according to subdivision (a), and the use of Fedwire is preapproved by the board. Banking costs incurred for the Fedwire transaction charged to the person and to the state shall be paid by the person originating the transaction.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 923 (AB 2894) in effect January 1, 2001.

40069. Electronic filing. (a) Any return, declaration, statement, or other document required to be made under this part that is filed using electronic media shall be filed and authenticated pursuant to any method or form the board may prescribe.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law, any return, declaration, statement, or other document otherwise required to be signed that is filed by the taxpayer using electronic media in a form as required by the board shall be deemed to be a signed, valid original document, including upon reproduction to paper form by the board.

(c) Electronic media includes, but is not limited to, computer modem, magnetic media, optical disk, facsimile machine, or telephone.

History.—Added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 459 (AB 1936), in effect January 1, 2003.

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Article 3. Deficiency Determinations

40071. Deficiency determinations. If the board is not satisfied with return or returns of the surcharge or the amount of surcharge required to be paid to the state by any person, it may compute and determine the amount required to be paid upon the basis of the facts contained in the return or returns or upon the basis of any information within its possession or that may come into its possession. One or more deficiency determinations may be made of the amount payable for one or for more than one period.

40072. Interest. The amount of the determination, exclusive of penalties, shall bear interest at the modified adjusted rate per month, or fraction thereof, established pursuant to Section 6591.5, from the last day of the month following the quarterly period for which the amount or any portion thereof should have been returned until the day of payment.

History.—Stats. 1977, Ch. 624, effective January 1, 1978, deleted "at the rate of one-half of 1 percent per month, or fraction thereof," and changed "date" to "day" in the first sentence, and added the second sentence. Stats. 1982, Ch. 5, First Extra Session, in effect May 27, 1982, substituted "adjusted . . . 19269" for "rate . . . thereafter" after "at the" in the second sentence. Stats. 1984, Ch. 1020, operative July 1, 1985, added "at . . . Section 6591.5," and deleted the second sentence.

40073. Offsets. In making a determination the board may offset overpayments for a period or periods, together with interest on the overpayments, against underpayments for another period or periods, against penalties, and against the interest on the underpayments.

40074. 10 percent penalty. If any part of the deficiency for which a deficiency determination is made is due to negligence or intentional disregard of this part or authorized rules and regulations, a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the determination shall be added thereto.

40075. 25 percent penalty. If any part of the deficiency for which a deficiency determination is made is due to fraud or an intent to evade this part or authorized rules and regulations, a penalty of 25 percent of the amount of the determination shall be added thereto.

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40076. Notice of determination. The board shall give to the electric utility or person consuming electrical energy written notice of its determination. The notice shall be placed in a sealed envelope with postage paid addressed to the electric utility or person consuming electrical energy at his address as it appears in the records of the board. The giving of notice shall be deemed complete at the time of the deposit of the notice in the United States Post Office, or a mailbox, sub-post office, substation or mail chute or other facility regularly maintained or provided by the United States Postal

Service, without extension of time for any reason. In lieu of mailing a notice may be served personally by delivering to the person to be served and service shall be deemed complete at the time of such delivery. Personal service to a corporation may be made by delivery of a notice to any person designated in the Code of Civil Procedure to be served for the corporation with summons and complaint in a civil action.

40077. Deficiency determination limitations. Except in the case of fraud, intent to evade this part or authorized rules and regulations, or failure to make a return every notice of a deficiency determination shall be mailed within three years after the last day of the calendar month following the quarterly period for which the amount is proposed to be determined or within three years after the return is filed, whichever period expires the later. In the case of failure to make a return, every notice of determination shall be mailed within eight years after the last day of the calendar month following the quarterly period for which the amount is proposed to be determined.

40078. Decedent deficiency determination limitations. In the case of a deficiency arising under this part during the lifetime of a decedent, a notice of deficiency determination shall be mailed within four months after written request therefor, in the form required by the board, by the fiduciary of the estate or trust or by any other person liable for the surcharge or any portion thereof.

40079. Extension of time. If, before the expiration of the time prescribed in Section 40077 for the mailing of a notice of deficiency determination, the taxpayer has consented in writing to the mailing of the notice after such time, the notice may be mailed at any time prior to the expiration of the period agreed upon. The period so agreed upon may be extended by subsequent agreements in writing made before the expiration of the period previously agreed upon.

History.—Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 624, effective January 1, 1978.

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Article 4. Determinations If No Return Made

40081. Failure to file determinations; penalty. If any person fails to make a return, the board shall make an estimate of the amount of the kilowatt-hours sold for consumption by the person, or, as the case may be, of the amount of kilowatt-hours purchased by the person, the consumption of which in this state is subject to the surcharge. The estimate shall be made for the period or periods in respect to which the person failed to make a return and shall be based upon any information which is in the board's possession or may come into its possession. Upon the basis of this estimate the board shall compute and determine the amount required to be paid to the state, adding to the sum thus arrived at a penalty equal to 10 percent thereof. One or more determinations may be made for one or for more than one period.

History.—Stats. 1981, Ch. 714, in effect January 1, 1982, substituted "into" for "in" after "come" in the second sentence.

40082. Offsets. In making a determination the board may offset overpayments for a period or periods, together with interest on the overpayments, against underpayments for another period or periods, against penalties, and against the interest on the underpayments.

40083. Interest. The amount of the determination, exclusive of penalties, shall bear interest at the modified adjusted rate per month, or fraction thereof, established pursuant to Section 6591.5, from the last day of the month following the quarterly period for which the amount or any portion thereof should have been returned until the date of payment.

History.—Stats. 1977, Ch. 624, effective January 1, 1978, deleted "at the rate of one-half of 1 percent per month, or fraction thereof," from the first sentence and added the second sentence. Stats. 1982, Ch. 5, First Extra Session, in effect May 27, 1982, substituted "adjusted . . . 19269" for "rate . . . thereafter" after "at the" in the second sentence. Stats. 1984, Ch. 1020, operative July 1, 1985, added "at . . . Section 6591.5," and deleted the second sentence.

40084. 25 percent penalty. If the failure of any person to file a return is due to fraud or an intent to evade this part or rules and regulations, a penalty of 25 percent of the amount required to be paid by the person, exclusive of penalties, shall be added thereto in addition to the 10 percent penalty provided in Section 40081.

40085. Notice of determination. Promptly after making its determination the board shall give to the person written notice of the estimate, determination, and penalty, the notice to be served personally or by mail in the manner prescribed for service of notice of a deficiency determination.

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Article 5. Redeterminations

40091. Petition for redetermination. Any person against whom a determination is made under Article 3 (commencing with Section 40071) or 4 (commencing with Section 40081) of this chapter may petition for a redetermination within 30 days after service upon the person of notice thereof. If a petition for redetermination is not filed within the 30-day period, the determination becomes final at the expiration of the period.

40092. Form, content, and amendment of petition. Every petition for redetermination shall be in writing and shall state the specific grounds upon which the petition is founded. The petition may be amended to state additional grounds at any time prior to the date on which the board issues its order or decision upon the petition for redetermination.

40093. Oral hearing. If a petition for redetermination is filed within the 30-day period, the board shall reconsider the determination and, if the person has so requested in his petition, shall grant the person an oral hearing and shall give him 10 days' notice of the time and place of the hearing. The board may continue the hearing from time to time as may be necessary.

40094. Decrease or increase of determination. The board may decrease or increase the amount of the determination before it becomes final, but the amount may be increased only if a claim for the increase is asserted by the board at or before the hearing. Unless the penalty imposed by Section 40075 or Section 40084 applies to the amount of the determination as originally made or as increased, the claim for increase must be asserted within eight years after the last day of the calendar month following the quarterly period for which the increase is asserted.

40095. Finality date of redetermination. The order or decision of the board upon a petition for redetermination becomes final 30 days after service upon the petitioner of notice thereof.

40096. Due date of determination; penalty. All determinations made by the board under Article 3 (commencing with Section 40071) or Article 4 (commencing with Section 40081) are due and payable at the time they become final. If they are not paid when due and payable, a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the determination, exclusive of interest and penalties, shall be added thereto.

History.—Stats. 1993, Ch. 589, in effect January 1, 1994, added "Article" after "(commencing with Section 40071)" and deleted "of this chapter" after "(commencing with Section 40081)" in the first sentence.

40097. Service of notice. Any notice required by this article shall be served personally or by mail in the manner prescribed for service of notice of a deficiency determination.

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Article 6. Interest and Penalties

40101. Interest and penalty. (a) Any person who fails to pay any surcharge to the state or any amount of surcharge required to be collected and paid to the state, except amounts of determinations made by the board under Article 3 (commencing with Section 40071) or Article 4 (commencing with Section 40081), within the time required shall pay a penalty of 10 percent of the surcharge or amount of the surcharge, in addition to the surcharge or amount of surcharge, plus interest at the modified adjusted rate per month, or fraction thereof, established pursuant to Section 6591.5, from the date on which the surcharge or the amount of surcharge required to be collected became due and payable to the state until the date of payment.

(b) Any person who fails to file a return in accordance with the due date set forth in Section 40061 shall pay a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the surcharge with respect to the period for which the return is required.

(c) The penalties imposed by this section shall be limited to a maximum of 10 percent of the surcharge for which the return is required for any one return.

History.—Stats. 1977, Ch. 624, deleted "at the rate of one-half of 1 percent per month, or fraction thereof," in the first sentence, and added the second sentence. Stats. 1982, Ch. 5, First Extra Session, in effect May 27, 1982, substituted "adjusted . . . 19269" for "rate . . . thereafter" after "at the" in the second sentence. Stats. 1984, Ch. 1020, operative July 1, 1985, deleted "of this chapter," after "Section 40081)," added "at . . . Section 6951.5," after "plus interest." Stats. 2000, Ch. 923 (AB 2894), in effect January 1, 2001, re-numbered first paragraph as subdivision (a), and added subdivision (b) and (c).

40101.1. Penalty interest rate. [Repealed by Stats. 1985, Ch. 20, effective July 1, 1985.]

40101.5. Interest; daily basis. (a) If the board finds, taking into account all facts and circumstances, that it is inequitable to compute interest at the modified adjusted rate per month or fraction thereof, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6591.5, interest shall be computed at the modified adjusted daily rate from the date on which the surcharge was due until the date of payment, if all of the following occur:

(1) The payment of the surcharge was made one business day after the date the surcharge was due.

(2) The person was granted relief from all penalties that applied to that payment of the surcharge.

(3) The person files a request for an oral hearing before the board.

(b) For purposes of this section, "modified adjusted daily rate" means the modified adjusted rate per annum as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 6591.5 determined on a daily basis by dividing the modified adjusted rate per annum by 365.

(c) For purposes of this section, "board" means the members of the State Board of Equalization meeting as a public body.

(d) For purposes of this section, "business day" means any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or any day designated as a state holiday.

(e) This section shall not apply to any payment made pursuant to a deficiency determination, or a determination where no return has been filed.

(f) This section shall only apply to electronic payments of surcharges.

(g) This section shall be operative only until January 1, 2016.

History.—Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 316 (SB 1028), in effect January 1, 2011.

Note.—Sec. 1, Stats. 2010, Ch. 316 (SB 1028) provides the following: "It is the intent of the Legislature that California's penalty and interest provisions foster and maintain the current high level of compliance, provide appropriate costs and sanctions for noncompliance, and provide a reasonable and administrable degree of latitude for individual taxpayer circumstances and errors. It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act, that the State Board of Equalization strictly and narrowly apply its provisions on a case-by-case basis and only in special circumstances."

40102. Excusable delay. (a) If the board finds that a person's failure to make a timely return or payment is due to reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the person's control, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and the absence of willful neglect, the person may be relieved of the penalty provided by Sections 40067, 40081, 40096, and 40101.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), any person seeking to be relieved of the penalty shall file with the board a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts upon which he or she bases his or her claim for relief.

(c) The board shall establish criteria that provide for efficient resolution of requests for relief pursuant to this section.

History.—Stats. 1996, Ch. 1087, in effect January 1, 1997, added ", 40096," after "by Sections 40081" in the first paragraph, and added "or she" after "upon which he" and added "or her" after "bases his" in the second paragraph. Stats. 2000, Ch. 1052 (AB 2898), in effect January 1, 2001, re-numbered first paragraph as subdivision (a), added "40067" after "provided by Sections" of subdivision (a), re-numbered second sentence as subdivision (b), added "Except as provided in subdivision (c)," before "any person seeking" to subdivision (b), added subdivision (c).

40103. Relief from interest; disaster. If the board finds that a person's failure to make a timely report or payment was due to a disaster, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and the absence of willful neglect, the person may be relieved of the interest provided by Sections 40065, 40067, 40083, and 40101.

Any person seeking to be relieved of the interest shall file with the board a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts upon which he or she bases his or her claim for relief.

History.—Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 947, in effect January 1, 1982. Stats. 2000, Ch. 923 (AB 2894), in effect January 1, 2001, added "40067," after "by Sections 40065," of first sentence, added "or she" after "upon which he" of second sentence and added "or her" after "bases his" of second sentence.

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40103.5. Relief of interest. (a) The board, in its discretion, may relieve all or any part of the interest imposed on a person by this part where the failure to pay the surcharge is due in whole or in part to an unreasonable error or delay by an employee of the board acting in his or her official capacity.

(b) For purposes of this section, an error or delay shall be deemed to have occurred only if no significant aspect of the error or delay is attributable to an act of, or a failure to act by, the person liable for the surcharge.

(c) Any person seeking relief under this section shall file with the board a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts on which the claim for relief is based and any other information which the board may require.

(d) The board may grant relief only for interest imposed on surcharge liabilities that arise during taxable periods commencing on or after January 1, 2000.

History.—Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 929 (AB 1638), in effect January 1, 2000. Stats. 2001, Ch. 251 (AB 1123), in effect January 1, 2002, substituted "this part" for "Sections 40083 and 40101" in subdivision (a).

40104. Reasonable reliance on written advice; relief from tax, penalty, and interest. (a) If the board finds that a person's failure to make a timely return or payment is due to the person's reasonable reliance on written advice from the board, the person may be relieved of the surcharge imposed by this part and any penalty or interest added thereto.

(b) For purposes of this section, a person's failure to make a timely return or payment shall be considered to be due to reasonable reliance on written advice from the board, only if the board finds that all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The person requested in writing that the board advise him or her whether a particular activity or transaction is subject to surcharge under this part. The specific facts and circumstances of the activity or transaction shall be fully described in the request.

(2) The board responded in writing to the person regarding the written request for advice, stating whether or not the described activity or transaction is subject to the surcharge, or stating the conditions under which the activity or transaction is subject to the surcharge.

(3) The liability for surcharges applied to a particular activity or transaction which occurred before either of the following:

(A) Before the board rescinded or modified the advice so given, by sending written notice to the person of the rescinded or modified advice.

(B) Before a change in statutory or constitutional law, a change in the board's regulations, or a final decision of a court, which renders the board's earlier written advice no longer valid.

(c) Any person seeking relief under this section shall file with the board all of the following:

(1) A copy of the person's written request to the board and a copy of the board's written advice.

(2) A statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts on which the claim for relief is based.

(3) Any other information which the board may require.

(d) Only the person making the written request shall be entitled to rely on the board's written advice to that person.

History.—Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 987, in effect January 1, 1991.

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40105. Relief of spouse. (a) Under regulations prescribed by the board, if:

(1) A surcharge liability under this part was understated by a failure to file a return required to be filed under this part, by the omission of an amount properly includable therein, or by erroneous deductions or credits claimed on a return, and the understatement of surcharge liability is attributable to one spouse; or any amount of the surcharge reported on a return was unpaid and the nonpayment of the reported surcharge liability is attributable to one spouse.

(2) The other spouse establishes that he or she did not know of, and had no reason to know of, that understatement or nonpayment.

(3) Taking into account whether or not the other spouse significantly benefited directly or indirectly from the understatement or the nonpayment and taking into account all other facts and circumstances, it is inequitable to hold the other spouse liable for the deficiency in surcharge attributable to that understatement or nonpayment, then the other spouse shall be relieved of liability for the surcharge (including interest, penalties, and other amounts) to the extent that the liability is attributable to that understatement or nonpayment of the surcharge.

(b) For purposes of this section, the determination of the spouse to whom items of understatement or nonpayment are attributable shall be made without regard to community property laws.

(c) This section shall apply to all calendar quarters subject to the provisions of this part, but shall not apply to any calendar quarter that is more than five years from the final date on the board-issued determination, five years from the return due date for nonpayment on a return, or one year from the first contact with the spouse making a claim under this section; or that has been closed by res judicata, whichever is later.

(d) For purposes of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), "reason to know" means whether or not a reasonably prudent person would have had reason to know of the understatement or nonpayment.

(e) For purposes of this section, with respect to a failure to file a return or an omission of an item from the return, "attributable to one spouse" may be determined by whether a spouse rendered substantial service as an electric utility making sales of electrical energy or as a consumer of electrical energy to which the understatement is attributable. If neither spouse rendered substantial services as an electric utility or a consumer, then the attribution of applicable items of understatement shall be treated as community property. An erroneous deduction or credit shall be attributable to the spouse who caused that deduction or credit to be entered on the return.

(f) Under procedures prescribed by the board, if, taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it is inequitable to hold the other spouse liable for any unpaid surcharge or any deficiency (or any portion of either) attributable to any item for which relief is not available under subdivision (a), the board may relieve the other spouse of that liability.

(g) For purposes of this section, registered domestic partners, as defined in Section 297 of the Family Code, have the same rights, protections, and benefits as provided by this section, and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties as imposed by this section, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

(h) The relief provided by this section shall apply retroactively to liabilities arising prior to the effective date of this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 342 (AB 1748), in effect January 1, 2008.

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