Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013
 

Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Law

CHAPTER 8. ADMINISTRATION.


CHAPTER 8. ADMINISTRATION.

Article 1. Administration

8251. Administration procedure. The board shall enforce the provisions of this part, except insofar as duties and powers are vested in the Controller, and may prescribe, adopt, and enforce rules and regulations relating to the administration and enforcement of this part. The board may prescribe the extent to which any ruling or regulation shall be applied without retroactive effect.

8252. Administrative representatives. The board may employ attorneys, accountants, auditors, investigators, and other expert and clerical assistance necessary to enforce its powers and perform its duties under this part.

History.—Stats. 1959, p. 4418, in effect September 18, 1959, added last sentence. Stats. 1968, p. 2330, in effect November 13, 1968, deleted the former last sentence which conferred peace officer powers upon the board and its representatives.

8253. Examination of licensee records. The board may make any examinations of the books and records of highway vehicle operators/fuelers, industrial users, pipeline operators, suppliers, train operators, or vessel operators, and any other investigations as it may deem necessary in carrying out the provisions of this part.

History.—Stats. 1943, p. 2704, operative July 1, 1943, added "producers and brokers." Stats. 2000, Ch. 1053 (AB 2114), operative January 1, 2002, substituted "any" for "such" after "The board may make", and substituted "books and records of highway vehicle operators/fuelers, industrial users, pipeline operators, suppliers, train operators, or vessel operators, and any" for "records of distributors, producers and brokers and such" after "examinations of the".

8254. Special conferences. As this State is the source of petroleum products for other states, if such examination or investigation necessitates collaboration or conference with motor vehicle fuel tax officials of other states, at places inside or outside this State, such collaboration or conference is declared to be a necessary function in the administration of this part.

8255. Furnishing information to governmental officials. (a) Upon request from the officials to whom is entrusted the enforcement of the motor fuel tax law of another government the board or the Controller may furnish to such officials such information in the possession of the board or the Controller which is deemed essential to the enforcement of the motor fuel tax laws.

Any information so furnished shall not be used for any purpose other than that for which it was furnished.

(b) The board may furnish to any state or federal agency investigating violations of or enforcing any state or federal law related to motor fuels any motor fuel information in the possession of the board that is deemed necessary for the enforcement of those laws.

History.—Added by Stats. 1959, p. 4418, in effect September 18, 1959. Stats. 1997, Ch. 620 (SB 1102), in effect January 1, 1998, added subdivision designation "(a)" and added subdivision (b).

8256. Certificate of notice. A certificate by the board or an employee of the board stating that a notice required by this part was given by mailing or personal service shall be prima facie evidence in any administrative or judicial proceeding of the fact and regularity of the mailing or personal service in accordance with any requirement of this part for the giving of a notice. Unless otherwise specifically required, any notice provided by this part to be mailed or served may be given either by mailing or by personal service in the manner provided for giving notice of a deficiency determination.

History.—Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 610, effective January 1, 1975.

8257. Information confidential; tax preparer. (a) Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who is engaged in the business of preparing, or providing services in connection with the preparation of, returns under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7651), or any person who for compensation prepares any such return for any other person, and who knowingly or recklessly does either of the following, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisoned no more than one year, or both, together with the costs of prosecution:

(1) Discloses any information furnished to him or her for, or in connection with, the preparation of the return.

(2) Uses that information for any purpose other than to prepare, or assist in preparing, the return.

(b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to disclosure of information if that disclosure is made pursuant to the person's consent or pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 1052 (AB 2898), in effect January 1, 2001.

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Article 2. The California Taxpayers' Bill of Rights1

1Article 2 was added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 438, in effect January 1, 1993.

8260. Administration. The board shall administer this article. Unless the context indicates otherwise, the provisions of this article shall apply to this part.

8261. Taxpayers' Rights Advocate. (a) The board shall establish the position of the Taxpayers' Rights Advocate. The advocate or his or her designee shall be responsible for facilitating resolution of taxpayer complaints and problems, including any taxpayer complaints regarding unsatisfactory treatment of taxpayers by board employees, and staying actions where taxpayers have suffered or will suffer irreparable loss as the result of those actions. Applicable statutes of limitation shall be tolled during the pendency of a stay. Any penalties and interest that would otherwise accrue shall not be affected by the granting of a stay.

(b) The advocate shall report directly to the executive officer of the board.

8262. Education and information program. (a) The board shall develop and implement an education and information program directed at, but not limited to, all of the following groups:

(1) Taxpayers newly registered with the board.

(2) Board audit and compliance staff.

(b) The education and information program shall include all of the following:

(1) A program of written communication with newly registered taxpayers explaining in simplified terms their duties and responsibilities.

(2) Participation in seminars and similar programs organized by federal, state, and local agencies.

(3) Revision of taxpayer educational materials currently produced by the board that explain the most common areas of taxpayer nonconformance in simplified terms.

(4) Implementation of a continuing education program for audit and compliance personnel to include the application of new legislation to taxpayer activities and areas of recurrent taxpayer noncompliance or inconsistency of administration.

(c) Electronic media used pursuant to this section shall not represent the voice, picture, or name of members of the board or of the Controller.

History.—Stats. 1999, Ch. 929 (AB 1638), in effect January 1, 2000, added "and compliance" after "program for audit" in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b).

8263. Annual hearing with taxpayers. The board shall conduct an annual hearing before the full board where industry representatives and individual taxpayers are allowed to present their proposals on changes to the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Law which may further improve voluntary compliance and the relationship between taxpayers and government.

History.—Stats. 2000, Ch. 1053 (AB 2114), operative January 1, 2002, substituted "Fuel" for "License" after "changes to the Motor Vehicle".

8264. Preparation of statements by board. The board shall prepare and publish brief but comprehensive statements in simple and nontechnical language that explain procedures, remedies, and the rights and obligations of the board and taxpayers. As appropriate, statements shall be provided to taxpayers with the initial notice of audit, the notice of proposed additional taxes, any subsequent notice of tax due, or other substantive notices. Additionally, the board shall include this language for statements in the annual tax information bulletins that are mailed to taxpayers.

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8265. Limit on revenue collected or assessed. (a) The total amount of revenue collected or assessed pursuant to this part shall not be used for any of the following:

(1) To evaluate individual officers or employees.

(2) To impose or suggest production quotas or goals, other than quotas or goals with respect to accounts receivable.

(b) The board shall certify in its annual report submitted pursuant to Section 15616 of the Government Code that revenue collected or assessed is not used in a manner prohibited by subdivision (a).

(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the setting of goals and the evaluation of performance with respect to productivity and the efficient use of time.

8266. Evaluation of employee's contact with taxpayers. The board shall develop and implement a program that will evaluate an individual employee's or officer's performance with respect to his or her contact with taxpayers. The development and implementation of the program shall be coordinated with the Taxpayers' Rights Advocate.

8267. Plan to timely resolve claims and petitions. The board shall, in cooperation with the Taxpayers' Rights Advocate, and other interested taxpayer-oriented groups, develop a plan to reduce the time required to resolve petitions for redetermination and claims for refunds. The plan shall include determination of standard timeframes and special review of cases that take more time than the appropriate standard timeframe.

8268. Procedures relating to protest hearings. Procedures of the board, relating to appeals staff review conferences before a staff attorney or supervising tax auditor independent of the assessing department, shall include all of the following:

(a) Any conference shall be held at a reasonable time at a board office that is convenient to the taxpayer.

(b) The conference may be recorded only if prior notice is given to the taxpayer and the taxpayer is entitled to receive a copy of the recording.

(c) The taxpayer shall be informed prior to any conference that he or she has a right to have present at the conference his or her attorney, accountant, or other designated agent.

8269. Reimbursement of taxpayer. (a) Every taxpayer is entitled to be reimbursed for any reasonable fees and expenses related to a hearing before the board if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The taxpayer files a claim for the fee and expenses with the board within one year of the date the decision of the board becomes final.

(2) The board, in its sole discretion, finds that the action taken by the board staff was unreasonable.

(3) The board decides that the taxpayer be awarded a specific amount of fees and expenses related to the hearing, in an amount determined by the board in its sole discretion.

(b) To determine whether the board staff has been unreasonable, the board shall consider whether the board staff has established that its position was substantially justified.

(c) The amount of reimbursed fees and expenses shall be limited to the following:

(1) Fees and expenses incurred after the date of the notice of determination, jeopardy determination, or a claim for refund.

(2) If the board finds that the staff was unreasonable with respect to certain issues but reasonable with respect to other issues, the amount of reimbursed fees and expenses shall be limited to those that relate to the issues where the staff was unreasonable.

(d) Any proposed award by the board pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be available as a public record for at least 10 days prior to the effective date of the award.

(e) The amendments to this section by the act adding this subdivision shall be operative for claims filed on or after January 1, 2000.

History.—Stats. 1995, Ch. 555, in effect January 1, 1996, substituted "board" for "State Board of Control" after "expenses with the" in paragraph (1) of, substituted "decides" for "makes a recommendation to the State Board of Control" after "The board" in paragraph (3) of, and deleted paragraph (4) which read: "The State Board of Control concurs with the recommendation and orders the board to provide reimbursement of fees and expenses to the taxpayer." from, subdivision (a); and added subdivision (d). Stats. 1999, Ch. 929 (AB 1638), in effect January 1, 2000, added "within one year . . . board becomes final" after "with the board" in paragraph (1) of, and substituted "in an amount . . . its sole discretion" for "which shall be determined by the board" after "to the hearing," in paragraph (3) of, subdivision (a), substituted "board staff has . . . substantially justified" for "taxpayer has established that the position of the board staff was not substantially justified" after "consider whether the" in subdivision (b), and added subdivision (e). Stats. 2000, Ch. 1052 (AB 2898), in effect January 1, 2001, substituted "the notice of determination, jeopardy determination, or a claim" for "filing for petitions of redetermination and claims" after "incurred after the date of" in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c).

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8270. Investigation for nontax administration purposes. (a) An officer or employee of the board acting in connection with any law administered by the board shall not knowingly authorize, require, or conduct any investigation of, or surveillance over, any person for nontax administration related purposes.

(b) Any person violating subdivision (a) shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the State Civil Service Act, including dismissal from office or discharge from employment.

(c) This section shall not apply with respect to any otherwise lawful investigation concerning organized crime activities.

(d) The provisions of this section are not intended to prohibit, restrict, or prevent the exchange of information where the person is being investigated for multiple violations which include motor vehicle fuel tax violations.

(e) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Investigation" means any oral or written inquiry directed to any person, organization, or governmental agency.

(2) "Surveillance" means the monitoring of persons, places, or events by means of electronic interception, overt or covert observations, or photography, and the use of informants.

History.—Stats. 2000, Ch. 1053 (AB 2114), operative January 1, 2002, deleted "license" after "include motor vehicle fuel" in subdivision (d).

8272. Release of levy. (a) The Controller shall release any levy or notice to withhold issued pursuant to this part on any property in the event the expense of the sale process exceeds the liability for which the levy is made.

(b) The Controller shall not sell any seized property until it has first notified the taxpayer in writing of the exemptions from levy under Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 703.010) of Division 2 of Title 9 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(c) This section shall not apply to the seizure of any property as a result of a jeopardy assessment.

History.—Stats. 1993, Ch. 589, in effect January 1, 1994, added "of Division 2" before "of Title 9" and added "Part 2 of" before "the Code" in subdivision (b).

8273. Exemptions from levy. Exemptions from levy under Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 703.010) of Division 2 of Title 9 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be adjusted for purposes of enforcing the collection of debts under this part to reflect changes in the California Consumer Price Index whenever the change is more than 5 percent higher than any previous adjustment.

History.—Stats. 1993, Ch. 589, in effect January 1, 1994, added "of Division 2" before "of Title 9" and added "Part 2 of" before "the Code".

8276. Revocation or suspension of license. For the purposes of this part only, the board shall not revoke or suspend a person's license pursuant to Section 7507 or 7508 unless the board has mailed a notice preliminary to revocation or suspension that indicates that the taxpayer will be suspended by a date certain pursuant to that section. The notice preliminary to suspension shall be mailed to the taxpayer at least 60 days before the date certain.

8277. Disregard by board employee or officer. (a) If any officer or employee of the board recklessly disregards board-published procedures, a taxpayer aggrieved by that action or omission may bring an action for damages against the State of California in superior court.

(b) In any action brought under subdivision (a), upon finding of liability on the part of the State of California, the state shall be liable to the plaintiff in an amount equal to the sum of all of the following:

(1) Actual and direct monetary damages sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the actions or omissions.

(2) Reasonable litigation costs including any of the following:

(A) Reasonable court costs.

(B) Prevailing market rates for the kind or quality of services furnished in connection with 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 that 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.

(c) In the awarding of damages under subdivision (b), the court shall take into consideration the negligence or omissions, if any, on the part of the plaintiff which contributed to the damages.

(d) Whenever it appears to the court that the taxpayer's position in the proceeding brought under subdivision (a) is frivolous, the court may impose a penalty against the plaintiff in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). A penalty so imposed shall be paid upon notice and demand from the board and shall be collected as a tax imposed under this part.

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Uncodified Sections

1. Multiagency task force. (a) The multiagency task force established pursuant to Executive Order D-51-86 (hereinafter referred to as "task force") shall include among its goals and objectives the following:

(1) To deter tax evasion by maximizing recoveries from blatant tax evaders and violators of cash-pay reporting laws, utilizing all penalties which are available to the taxing and enforcement agencies under existing law.

(2) To reduce enforcement costs by eliminating duplicative audits and investigations.

(3) To generate greater voluntary taxpayer compliance and to deter tax and cash-pay violations by publicizing the efforts of the task force.

(4) To provide opportunities for auditors and investigators from tax and enforcement agencies to become familiar with other agencies' laws and enforcement procedures.

(5) To concentrate its efforts in investigating and prosecuting violations of cash-pay and tax laws by employers with five or more employees and by individuals who are habitual or willfull violators of those laws.

(b) In addition to the responsibilities cited in Executive Order D-51-86, the task force shall be empowered to do all of the following:

(1) Identify areas of blatant violations and noncompliance with tax and cash-pay laws.

(2) Solicit referrals from the tax and enforcement agencies represented on the task force committee of instances of blatant violations and noncompliance with tax and cash-pay laws.

(3) Conduct audits, investigations, and referrals for prosecution of violations referred by other agencies and in the identified areas of violations and noncompliance, using all enforcement powers available in existing laws and regulations.

(4) Establish an advertised telephone "hotline" for referrals from the public.

(5) Publicize the activities of the task force.

(6) Keep the audit and investigative staff of the tax and enforcement agencies represented on the task force committee fully informed of the activities of the task force.

(7) Develop procedures for improved information sharing among the agencies represented on the task force committee, consistent with restrictions on disclosure of confidential tax information in existing law,for the purpose of improving enforcement.

(8) Based on the activities of the task force, evaluate the need for any law changes to do any of the following:

(A) Eliminate barriers to interagency information sharing.

(B) Improve agencies' ability to audit, investigate, and prosecute tax and cash-pay violations.

(C) Deter violations and improve voluntary compliance.

(D) Eliminate duplication and improve cooperation among the participating agencies.

(c) The task force shall report to the Governor, the Senate and Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committees, and the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy every six months during the period it is in existence, beginning on March 1, 1987, regarding the activities of the task force. The reports shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) The number of cases of blatant violations and noncompliance with tax and cash-pay laws identified, audited or investigated, and referred for prosecution.

(2) Actions taken by the task force to publicize its activities.

(3) Efforts made by the task force to establish an advertised telephone "hotline" for referrals from the public.

(4) Procedures developed for improved information sharing among the agencies represented on the task force.

(5) Steps taken by the task force to improve cooperation among participating agencies, reduce duplication of effort, and improve voluntary compliance.

(6) Recommendations for any law changes needed to accomplish the goals described in paragraph (8) of subdivision (b).

History.—Added by Section 40, Stats. 1986, Ch. 1361, effective January 1, 1987.