Statewide Compliance & Outreach Program

Overview
SCOP Contact Information and Map
SCOP Resources and Publications
SCOP "How are we doing?" Survey


SCOP Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the Statewide Compliance and Outreach Program (SCOP)?
  2. Do I only need a seller’s permit?
  3. How do I register for a seller's permit?
  4. Which businesses will BOE visit?
  5. How will I know when my business will be visited?
  6. What are you looking for during the visit to my business?
  7. What will happen if I do not get a seller’s permit?
  8. What will happen if I do not file an amended return?
  9. Do I have any rights under this program?
  10. Can I file a complaint if I have concerns about the SCOP visit to my business or the SCOP specialist’s behavior?

  1. What is the purpose of the Statewide Compliance and Outreach Program (SCOP)?

    The SCOP is intended to:

    • Make sure you have the state tax and fee permits and licenses you need,
    • Make sure that our records on your business are updated and correct,
    • Allow you to meet a representative who can provide more information and answer your questions, and
    • Make sure you understand your reporting requirements so that you are able to report accurately.

    It is estimated that about two percent of California businesses are operating without the appropriate permits or licenses. These unregistered businesses have an unfair business advantage over those businesses that are properly registered and reporting their taxes/fees. The SCOP is part of a statewide effort to educate business owners, increase tax compliance and help make our tax system fair. The permit and license verification is not intended to replace audits or other tax compliance or enforcement activity.

  2. Do I only need a seller's permit?

    The permits and licenses needed depend on your type of business. Some businesses require only a seller's permit, while others also need to register for other state tax and fee programs. For example, cigarette retailers are required to hold a seller's permit as well as a special license to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products. The SCOP specialist will assist you in identifying any additional permits you may need.

    For a full list of BOE-administered programs and to see what permits or licenses may be required, please go to the Register for a Permit, License, or Account page.

  3. How do I register for a seller's permit?

    If your business sells or leases tangible personal property in California and does not hold a seller's permit, you will be instructed to electronically register when you are visited by a SCOP specialist. The specialist will provide publication 214, Doing Business Just Got Easier with eReg, which contains additional information about electronically registering for a seller's permit.

    To register, visit our eReg page and complete the online application or register by visiting a nearby BOE office.

    For further information on obtaining a seller's permit, please see our Frequently Asked Questions on Obtaining a Seller's Permit.

  4. Which businesses will BOE visit?

    The BOE intends to visit all non-residential businesses statewide over the course of time. There are seven SCOP teams throughout the state that are conducting door-to-door visits based on zip codes. All storefronts and other known business locations in each area will be visited by a SCOP specialist.

  5. How will I know when my business will be visited?

    If you already have a seller's permit with the BOE, a letter will be sent to your business address notifying you of our upcoming visit to your area. However, if you are not registered with the BOE, you may not directly receive a notice or letter, since the BOE has no address on record for your business. The BOE will work with local municipalities and other partners to publicize our visits to businesses and increase awareness of our plan to conduct visits in their area.

    Visits to your area may begin as early as two weeks from the date of the letter; however, visits may be delayed several weeks depending on the length of visits to businesses in other zip codes. The SCOP specialists generally remain in the area until all business locations within the zip code have been visited.

  6. During the visit to my business, what is a SCOP specialist looking for?

    At each visit, SCOP specialists will:

    • Identify themselves and show identification,
    • Verify the existence of a seller's permit, fee permits and other business licenses/permits that may be required, including a city or county business license, if appropriate,
    • Review your license/permit to verify that it is updated with the correct information,
    • Provide guidance on reporting your sales and use taxes properly,
    • Provide information and assistance on your sales and use tax responsibilities, and
    • Answer questions that you may have.

    If your business is required to hold a seller's permit and you are operating without one, the SCOP specialist will provide publication 214, Doing Business Just Got Easier with eReg, to assist you with electronic registration.

    If you hold a valid seller's permit, but appears you may be reporting incorrectly, the SCOP specialist may ask you to file an amend return(s) at the time of the visit or may contact you at a later time to obtain additional information. The SCOP specialist can also provide you with guidance for proper reporting. If you have overpaid your taxes, you will be advised on how to file a claim for refund.

    If applicable, a SCOP specialist will follow-up at a later date to make sure that your registration, amended return(s), and/or claim for refund requirements are fulfilled.

    Please Note: The filing of an amended return does not prevent further BOE activity, such as an audit or refund, for the same period(s) in question.

  7. What will happen if I do not get a seller's permit?

    You are required to obtain a seller's permit if you are considered engaged in business in California where you sell or lease tangible personal property. If you fail to obtain a permit and file back-due returns, a Compliance Assessment (billing) may be issued based upon the information gathered by the SCOP specialist during and/or after the visit. You will be charged a 10 percent penalty on the taxes due for failing to file a return by its due date. You could also be charged an additional 50 percent penalty if it is determined that you knowingly failed to obtain a permit to evade tax. For more information, please see publication 75, Interest and Penalties. In addition to any penalties, you may also receive a misdemeanor citation for operating without a seller's permit or with a revoked permit under section 6071 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

  8. What will happen if I do not file an amended return?

    If you are advised to file amended return(s) and do not file the amended return(s) within the time period specified, an estimated billing may be issued based upon the information gathered by the SCOP specialist during and/or after the visit, or your business may be referred for an audit.

    If you do file an amended return as advised, please be aware that further BOE activity, such as an audit or refund, for the same period(s) may still take place.

    If you believe your original sales and use tax returns were filed correctly, or if you have any questions regarding the request to file amended returns, you should contact your local SCOP office.

  9. What are my rights?

    You have specific legal rights as a California taxpayer. BOE employees must honor and uphold them each time we interact with you. As explained in publication 70, Understanding Your Rights as a California Taxpayer, you have the right to:

    • Courteous and prompt service,
    • Fair treatment,
    • Confidentiality,
    • Information and assistance, and
    • Address the elected Board of Equalization Members
  10. Can I file a complaint if I have concerns about the SCOP visit to my business or the SCOP specialist's behavior?

    If you believe a SCOP specialist was unprofessional or violated your rights, you may file a complaint by calling or writing your local BOE SCOP office. Be sure to explain how the SCOP specialist was unprofessional or inconsiderate in conducting the permit and license verification. Your complaint will be handled by a supervisor or manager, who will contact you to address your concerns. If you have not been able to resolve a problem through normal channels, you may contact the BOE's Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office.