Despite my objections, the state Legislature voted to strip the Board of Equalization of most of its authority, including the ability to hear nearly all tax appeals. Unfortunately, the governor is expected to sign this bill into law soon.
To help taxpayers, I’ve put together a list of FAQs on how AB 102 affects the Board going forward.
Regardless of the changes, I’ll continue to represent you to the fullest extent possible. My goal has always been to ensure taxpayers like you are treated fairly.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you feel about the changes?
Contrary to its misleading title, this rushed legislation is neither fair to taxpayers, nor transparent to the public.
By gutting the power of elected representatives, this bill leaves taxpayers defenseless against a revenue-hungry and powerful state bureaucracy that's unaccountable to the public.
But don’t changes to BOE require a constitutional amendment?
Rather than change the Constitution, the legislation removes statutory responsibilities given to the Board over many years by the Legislature. The Board will continue to exist and perform its constitutional functions.
How will the new appeals process work?
The Board will continue to hear tax appeals through the end of this year. Because AB 102 prohibits “ex parte communications,” Board member communications with taxpayers who are in the appeals process will be restricted as of July 1.
Beginning January 1, 2018, the Board of Equalization will no longer hear most tax appeals. Tax appeals will be decided by three unelected administrative law judges at the newly-created Office of Tax Appeals.
Will the Board still do taxpayer outreach and education?
As I shared during our June Board meeting, I believe it is the Legislature’s clear intent for Board members to continue the important work of helping, educating and advocating for taxpayers. However, it is not yet clear how the legislation will impact our ability to continue providing these vital services to taxpayers.
Which agency will be responsible for collection of sales and excise taxes?
About 4,400 of the state Board of Equalization’s 4,800 employees will be transferred to the new California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which will take over collection of sales and excise taxes.
The Board will continue to perform its constitutional duties relating to property tax assessments, including ensuring that assessments by counties are fair and equitable. The Board will also continue to assess taxes on insurers and collect taxes on alcohol.
Won’t all these changes be costly for taxpayers?
Yes. The number of state tax bureaucracies will grow from three to five. The legislation includes an initial appropriation of $5 million, but that’s just a down payment to get things started. The final tab will be much, much higher.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at 916-445-2181 or email@example.com.
This email was sent by: George Runner, Vice Chair, California State Board of Equalization 500 Capitol Mall, Suite 1750 Sacramento, CA, 95814, US
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