Getting Started for Tax Practitioners

Our goal of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is to provide guidance and relevant information to help assist your client in maintaining their accounts with us. We know time is valuable, so we have made it easy, quick, and convenient for you to do business online.


Your client may register for a permit, license or account number on our CDTFA website by clicking the Register button at the top right corner of the page. Once registered, your client may also file returns and make payments online.

As a tax practitioner, you can request to register, file or make payment on behalf of your clients by registering as an electronic client (e-client) and creating a user id. You can request access for an account by filing out form CDTFA-91-B, Tax/Fee Payer Authorization For Tax Preparer To Perform Electronic Services.

Once you are registered as an electronic client for an account you can:

  • Electronically file returns or prepayments
  • View prior CDTFA-filed returns
  • Personalize your own User ID and password
  • Receive email reminders of approaching due dates
  • Change business email address' online

Or, you can access the account through express login that will grant you one time access to file returns. Express logins are unique eight digit numbers that can be obtained from the following sources:

  • Correspondence received from the CDTFA
  • By contacting our customer service representatives at 1-800-400-7115, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, excluding state holidays
  • From the top of your returns

Power of Attorney (POA)

Taxpayer representatives authorized to act as Power of Attorney (POA) on behalf of their client, must register as a POA with CDTFA to discuss any taxpayer issues related to their accounts. You may register as a POA online or by sending form CDTFA-392 by mail.

To complete the POA, if you do not already have an account, you must first create a profile on our CDTFA website by clicking the Register button at the top right corner of the page. Then under the Registration Options heading, select Create My Log On. Once you have created a profile and logged into our system, under the I Want To Heading select More, then click Request a Power of Attorney, and complete the requested information. The system will create an online notice, and a system generated letter will be mailed to the taxpayer indicating you have requested to be their POA. The taxpayer can then approve the request in one of three ways: 1) online, 2) by calling a local field office, or 3) by calling our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711).

To register by mail, please complete the form CDTFA-392, Power of Attorney, located on the CDTFA website and mail it to your local field office. Or, provide a document that includes the following information:

  1. Taxpayer's name, telephone number, identification number(s), account or permit number(s) and mailing address;
  2. The name, address (including email, if any), telephone and FAX number of the appointed representative(s);
  3. The tax/fee matters the representative is authorized to represent the taxpayer; the scope of the representative's authority; and the filing period(s) for which the authorization is granted;
  4. A statement that the power of attorney revokes all prior powers of attorney, with any exceptions to the revocation noted;
  5. The time period during which the power of attorney shall be in effect; and
  6. The signature(s) and title of all affected taxpayers and the date of signature.

Third Party Online Access (TPA) is required for the POA or other representatives who wish to perform online functions. To request TPA, you must create a profile on our online services page. If you mailed the POA, you would still need to create a username and password. Once logged on, click Request Access to an Account link under the I Want To section and complete the requested information.

Recordkeeping requirements

If a taxpayer holds a California seller's permit, they are required to maintain business records to verify that they have properly paid tax.

Your clients' records should be adequate enough that CDTFA representatives may:

  • Verify the accuracy of their sales and use tax returns; and
  • Determine if they have correctly paid the tax due on their sales and purchases.

Your client may be charged a negligence penalty if an audit reveals that their records are not adequate.

Records your client should keep include but are not limited to:

  • Normal books of account that show their business income and expenses.
  • Documents of original entry, such as invoices, receipts, job orders, purchase orders, contracts, or other documents used as the basis for their books of account; and
  • All schedules or working papers used in preparing their sales and use tax returns.

Your clients' records need to show:

  • The gross receipts from all of your business income, including sales, leases, service charges, and labor income;
  • All of the deductions claimed on your sales and use tax returns, along with supporting documents for those deductions; and
  • The total purchase price, including receipts, for all items you purchase for; resale, lease, or your own use.

The level of detail required varies by industry. Records need to be adequate enough for the CDTFA to determine the date of sale, what your clients sold, all taxable and nontaxable charges, and how much tax was applied to the sale. It is important that they keep all documents to support nontaxable sales.

Records should be retained for at least four years. If your client is being audited, retain all records that cover the audit period until the audit is complete, even if it is longer than four years.

Sales Made on State-Designated Fairgrounds

Effective July 1, 2018, if your client is a retailer who makes sales of tangible personal property that take place on the real property of a California state-designated fair ("state-designated fairground"), they must separately state the amount of those sales on their Sales and Use Tax return. Sales that take place on state-designated fairgrounds include over-the-counter sales on the fairgrounds and also may include sales in which the property is shipped or delivered to or from the fairground.

The separately reported amount will be used for funding allocation purposes only. There is no additional tax or fee due on these sales. For more information on the new reporting requirement, please see Tax Guide for Reporting Requirements on State-Designated Fairgrounds.


In general, accounts are subject to audit in three-year intervals, at the time a permit is closed out, or in connection with another permit held by the taxpayer.

The objective of an audit is to verify that taxpayers are correctly reporting taxes and fees on their sales and use tax returns. You may be designated to represent your clients in an audit.

It is important to remember that the conduct of audits is governed by law and CDTFA policy. In particular, you should keep in mind that:

  • Our auditors will impartially determine whether you have reported the correct amount of taxes or fees. Overpayments, as well as underpayments, are considered during an audit.
  • Records are required to be provided according to the provisions of Regulation 1698, Records.
  • Our audit program is intended to correct errors that result in underreporting or over reporting and to inform you how to properly report your taxes or fees. During an audit, you may ask any questions you have about the law governing taxes or fees or your reporting requirements.
  • Our auditors are expected to conduct audits in a professional, courteous and helpful manner.
  • Frequently, audits do not result in any change in tax or fee liability.

The following materials can help you to prepare if your client is selected for audit.