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Your Taxpayer Rights

The Board of Equalization (BOE) is committed to upholding your taxpayer rights. Our employees are expected to honor and safeguard your rights every time they interact with you.

Your Right to Courteous and Prompt Service

You should expect to be treated courteously and professionally by our employees and to receive prompt service from them. All BOE employees who work with the public are evaluated on their contact and communication with taxpayers.

Your Right to Be Treated Fairly

You have the right to be free from discrimination, harassment, and inappropriate conduct from BOE employees. The BOE is committed to administering our programs without regard to the race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, or disability of taxpayers.

Your Right to Information and Assistance During all your dealings with any employee or officer of the BOE, you have the right to:

  • Have the law administered uniformly;
  • Be treated fairly;
  • Be advised of the procedures or methods used; and
  • Be free from investigations or surveillance activities unrelated to the administration of tax programs.

Your Right to Confidentiality

The BOE is required by state law to keep your personal and financial information private, but there are some important exceptions. For instance, the information that appears on your seller’s permit is public information and is generally not protected. Also, if you appeal a determination made by BOE staff or the Franchise Tax Board to the elected Members of the BOE, your appeal will become part of the public record.

Your Right to Information and Assistance

You have the right to receive information and assistance in simple, nontechnical language to help you comply with the various tax and fee laws we administer. The BOE also provides interpreter services for persons who are hearing impaired and for persons who need assistance in a language other than English. You have the right to obtain copies of your records and ask for written advice on how tax applies to a particular type of transaction.

Your Right to Address Your Elected Board Member

Each year the elected Board Members hold public hearings in Sacramento and Culver City and invite taxpayers to express their ideas, concerns, and recommendations regarding the programs and laws administered by the BOE.

You are also welcome to contact your Board Member’s office directly with any question or concern about the tax laws that BOE administers.

business people

Your Right to Appeal an Audit

If you are a business owner and are selected for an audit, you have the right to a fair and impartial examination and a clear explanation of the audit process. If you do not understand or agree with the audit, you will have an opportunity to resolve the issues informally by meeting with the auditor’s supervisor and, if necessary, the audit supervisor’s superior.

If the audit finds that you owe money to the Board of Equalization, you will be issued a bill called a “Notice of Determination.”

If you do not agree with your bill, you have 30 days after you receive your notice to file a formal appeal. If your disagreement remains unresolved after meeting with Board of Equalization’s Appeals Division, you may request a hearing before the five elected Board Members. Please be aware that while your appeal is pending, your bill will accrue interest.

Your Right to Claim a Refund and Seek Relief of Penalties and Interest

If you make any payments that you believe exceed the amount you owe, you have the right to file a claim for refund. A claim for refund should be mailed to the appropriate address in a timely manner. You also have the right to ask that we relieve some penalties and interest under certain circumstances.

Taxpayers' Rights Advocate

Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate Office

We also work with the BOE’s Taxpayers' Rights Advocate (TRA) Office to help taxpayers when they are unable to resolve a matter through normal channels, when they want information regarding procedures relating to a particular set of circumstances, or when there are apparent rights violations in the audit, compliance, or property tax areas.

Related Resources:

Understanding Your Rights as a California Taxpayer (Publication 70)

Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate Office

Taxpayer Education Consultation Program