Settlement Program – Sales & Use Tax – Special Tax & Fee Cases
The Board's settlement program is available to taxpayers or feepayers who have a petition for redetermination, administrative protest or claim for refund pending in connection with a tax or fee liability administered by the Board. Settlement proposals may be considered for civil tax or fee matters in dispute under the sales and use tax program or certain special tax and fee programs. The settlement program does not presently apply to motor vehicle fuel tax disputes or to insurance tax disputes. Also, with the exception of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee, and the Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee, disputes involving the Hazardous Substances Tax Law are administered by the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
The settlement program does not include audits in progress or collection matters. Also, litigation cases are handled outside the settlement program. The settlement program is intended to expedite the resolution of tax and fee disputes consistent with a reasonable evaluation of litigation risks and costs. Therefore, a taxpayer's inability to pay the disputed liability is not considered under the settlement program. If you are only seeking relief from a tax or fee liability on the basis of an inability to pay, you may contact the Board's District Office that handled the audit to inquire about the Offers in Compromise program, or go to www.boe.ca.gov/oic/oicomp.htm for more information on the program.
Proposing a Settlement
To initiate settlement, you must first submit your proposal on form BOE-393, Settlement Proposal for Sales and Use Tax and Special Tax and Fee Cases, or on a signed and dated written request for settlement that includes:
- The taxpayers or feepayers name, phone number, and current address;
- If applicable, the name, address, fax and phone number of the taxpayers or feepayers representative, as well as a copy of the representatives power of attorney;
- The taxpayers or feepayers account number;
- The tax or fee period involved;
- The tax or fee involved; and
- A good faith settlement offer, including factual and legal grounds in support of the offer.
Also, please keep in mind that if you have requested a Board hearing for your appeals case or are already scheduled for a Board hearing, your case will not be considered for settlement unless your proposal is submitted at least 15 days before the date scheduled for a hearing of your case before the five-member Board.
Settlement offers should be sent to:
State Board of Equalization
Ms. Amy Kelly
Assistant Chief Counsel, Settlement and Taxpayer Services Division
450 N Street MIC:87
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, California 94279-0087
Settlement Review and Negotiations
After receiving your settlement request, settlement staff will evaluate your proposal and advise you or your representative whether your case is suitable for settlement consideration. Staff will usually seek to settle a case involving genuine factual and/or legal issues. However, settlement is discretionary and your case may be declined for a variety of reasons. For example, if staff perceives little litigation risk to the Board's position, or if sufficient facts to allow proper settlement evaluation have not been provided, your case will not likely be accepted for settlement consideration.
If your case is considered suitable for settlement, staff may accept your offer or, if appropriate, seek to negotiate an agreement for a different amount. If a tentative agreement is reached, you will be asked to sign a formal document setting forth the terms of the agreement. The settlement proposal will then be submitted for approval. Typically staff will notify you or your representative of the decision on the proposal within 90 days of its submission. If the proposed settlement requires that you pay an additional amount, you will normally be expected to pay the full amount within 30 days of receiving notification of the acceptance of the proposal. Settlements entered into are final and may be appealed only upon a showing of fraud or misrepresentation of a material fact.
Generally, an appeals case will continue through the appeals process independent of a request for settlement of the disputed amounts. Therefore, while you are seeking settlement you must continue to meet all applicable deadlines with respect to your petition, administrative protest and/or claim for refund. For instance, if your case is scheduled for an appeals conference you will be expected to attend the conference even though you submitted a request for settlement consideration. The appeals process continues, so that if settlement is not reached, your case will not be unduly delayed.
For settlements in which the reduction of tax or fee exceeds $500, the law requires that a public record statement, available for public review, be placed in the Office of the Board's Executive Director. The public record will include the following information:
- The name or names of the taxpayers or feepayers who are parties to the settlement.
- The total amount in dispute.
- The amount agreed to in the settlement.
- A summary of the reasons why the settlement is in the best interests of the State.
- If applicable, the Attorney Generals conclusion regarding the reasonableness of the settlement.
Information that relates to any trade secret, patent, process, style of work, apparatus, business secret, or organizational structure will not be included in the public record if its disclosure would adversely affect the taxpayer or feepayer. With the exception of the required public record statement, settlements are considered to be confidential tax information.
For additional information on the settlement process, you may contact the Settlement Section at 1-916-324-2836, or by fax at 1-916-323-3387, or write to the address above. Information on the settlement program is also available in Publication 17, "Appeals Procedures", or you can have a copy mailed to you by calling the Boards Information Center, at 1-800-400-7115.