Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office
The Taxpayers' Rights Advocate (TRA) Office helps tax and feepayers 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, or collection of taxes or fees. Some taxpayers call to communicate their frustration with aspects of the business taxation system or seeking confirmation that they have been treated lawfully and fairly by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA).
In cases where the law, policy, or procedure does not allow any change to the staff action, but a change appears justified, the TRA Office is alerted to a potential area that may need clarification or modification. Several past recommendations for policy, procedural, and legislative changes have resulted from these types of contacts with taxpayers.
The TRA office facilitates communication to eliminate potential misunderstandings. Tax and feepayers are provided information on policies and procedures so they can be better prepared to discuss their issues with the appropriate staff and increase the opportunity to affect a resolution which will satisfy them. As the small business liaison for the CDTFA, the TRA Office is available to assist small businesses in resolving problems regarding compliance with the relevant regulations and statutes after normal channels have failed.
Your Rights as a Taxpayer
Right to Prompt, Courteous, and Fair Treatment
You have the right to have your problems resolved in a quick, courteous, and professional manner. Our employees will treat you with dignity and respect and must apply the law fairly and consistently.
Right to Confidentiality
You can feel secure knowing the CDTFA will keep your personal and financial information confidential. Tax information is only disclosed to other state and federal agencies as provided by law.
Right to Information
The CDTFA continues to try and provide easy to understand information to help you comply with the various tax and fee laws.
Rights During an Audit
If you are audited, you have the right to a fair examination and a clear explanation of the audit process. In addition, you may speak with the auditor’s supervisor if you do not understand or agree with the audit.
Right to pay no more than the correct amount you owe
You should promptly pay the full amount of taxes that you owe. (In general, we do not take collection action on an amount you owe until after we give you an opportunity to pay.) We prefer to establish a payment arrangement rather than take enforcement action against you such as file a tax lien, levy, and/or wage garnishment. If you cannot pay your tax liability in full, then you may be eligible to make installment payments.
If you cannot pay what you owe immediately, you have the right to:
- Meet with a supervisor.
- Request copies of your file.
- Request a hardship hearing to show that a collection action is causing a financial hardship.
- Receive notification 30 days before we file a lien.
- Stay informed about tax laws and regulations that affect your business.
- Report and pay taxes and fees when due.
- Promptly respond to CDTFA attempts to contact you.
- Inform the CDTFA of changes to your business ownership or address.
- Maintain adequate records.