Laws, Regulations and Annotations


Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2023

Sales And Use Tax Law

Revenue and Taxation Code

Division 2. Other Taxes
Part 1. Sales and Use Taxes
Chapter 5. Determinations

Article 6. Interest and Penalties

Section 6596

6596. Excusable delay; reliance on advice. (a) If the board finds that a person's failure to make a timely return or payment is due to the person's reasonable reliance on written advice from the board, the person may be relieved of the taxes imposed by Sections 6051 and 6201 and any penalty or interest added thereto.

(b) For the purpose of this section, a person's failure to make a timely return or payment shall be considered to be due to reasonable reliance on written advice from the board, only if the board finds that all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The person requested in writing that the board advise him or her whether a particular activity or transaction is subject to tax under this part. The specific facts and circumstances of the activity or transaction shall be fully described in the request.

(2) The board responded in writing to the person regarding the written request for advice, stating whether or not the described activity or transaction is subject to tax, or stating the conditions under which the activity or transaction is subject to tax.

(3) In reasonable reliance on the board's written advice, the person did not do either of the following:

(A) Charge or collect from his or her customers amounts designated as sales tax reimbursement or use tax for the described activity or transaction.

(B) Pay a use tax on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property.

(4) The liability for taxes applied to a particular activity or transaction which occurred before either of the following:

(A) Before the board rescinded or modified the advice so given, by sending written notice to the person of the rescinded or modified advice.

(B) Before a change in statutory or constitutional law, a change in the board's regulations, or a final decision of a court, which renders the board's earlier written advice no longer valid.

(c) Any person seeking relief under this section shall file with the board:

(1) A copy of the person's written request to the board and a copy of the board's written advice.

(2) A statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts on which the claim for relief is based.

(3) Any other information which the board may require.

(d) Only the person making the written request shall be entitled to rely on the board's written advice to that person.

History—Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1728, effective January 1, 1985. Stats. 1991, Ch. 402, in effect January 1, 1992, added "do either of the following:" after "person did not", substituted "(A) Charge" for "charge" after "following:", and added subparagraph (B), to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b).

Note.—Sec. 4, Stats. 1984, Ch. 1728 provided it is the intent of the Legislature that the State Board of Equalization shall explore and use every available means of regularly informing California businesses of the provisions of Section 6596 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

Sec. 5, Stats. 1984, Ch. 1728 Provides "The State Board of Equalization shall request each city which licenses businesses within its jurisdiction to add a notice to its business licenses applications. The requested notice shall state in substance that sales or use taxes may apply to the applicant's business activities, and that the applicant may seek written advice from the State Board of Equalization regarding the application of sales or use taxes to his or her business activities.

The board shall also make reasonable efforts to work with counties and other state agencies to determinate information about taxpayer's obligations under the Sales and Use Tax Law."