Your Taxpayer Rights

We are 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 Be Treated Fairly

Dealing with tax agencies can be intimidating, but you should know that you have specific rights when it comes to interacting with the Board of Equalization, the Franchise Tax Board, and the Employment Development Department. In all your interactions with any employee or officer of a California tax agency, 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 Courteous and Prompt Service

You have a right to courteous and prompt service from our employees. Our interactions with you should be free from discrimination, harassment, and inappropriate conduct. All state employees who work with the public are evaluated on their contact and communication with taxpayers.

Your Right to Confidentiality

California state law requires that we keep your personal and financial information confidential unless it is part of the public record or subpoenaed. However, the information that appears on your seller's permit is considered public information. Also, if you appeal a bill from the Board of Equalization or the Franchise Tax Board, 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 and ask questions if you don't understand something. Interpreter services for persons who are hearing impaired or who need assistance in a language other than English are available.

You have the right to obtain copies of your own records and request written tax advice. If you follow written advice from the Board of Equalization and an audit later reveals that the advice was inaccurate, you will be protected from the associated penalties.

Your Right to Address Your Elected Board Member

You are always welcome to contact my office directly. My fellow Board Members and I hold monthly public hearings in either Sacramento or Culver City where taxpayers are invited to express their ideas, concerns, and recommendations.

Your Right to Appeal an Audit

business people

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

If the audit findings show that you owe money to the Board of Equalization, you will be issued a bill called a "Notice of Determination." If you don't agree with your bill, you have 30 days after you receive the notice to file a formal appeal. If your disagreement remains unresolved after meeting with the Board of Equalization's Appeals Division, you may request a hearing before the Board. Please be aware that while your appeal is pending, your bill will continue to accrue interest.

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

Our aim is to collect the correct amount of tax, not a penny more. If you make any payments that exceed the amount you owe, you have the right to file a claim for refund and have that money returned to you. You also have the right to ask for relief of some penalties and interest.

Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office

Taxpayers' Rights Advocate

We work closely with our Taxpayers' Rights Advocate's 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. They can also help set up payment plans or even help reduce total tax liability in cases of extreme economic hardship.

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If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.