California State Board of Equalization Adopts New Rules for Franchise Tax Board Tax Appeals

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Effective February 6, 2008, the California State Board of Equalization (“SBE”) has adopted new Rules for Tax Appeals (“RTA”), which are found in Title 18 of the California Code of Regulations, beginning at section 5000. The new RTAs are intended to establish a comprehensive set of procedural regulations that cover all of the SBE’s administrative review functions, including the SBE’s appellate review authority with respect to appeals from actions of the California Franchise Tax Board (“FTB”). Prior regulations existed, but the SBE desired a complete restructuring of the

procedures applicable to the SBE’s appeal processes, and decided to undertake that process in a single project on the theory that the prior regulations were not well-suited to piecemeal amendment. The new RTAs are the result of a very thorough, two-year review, drafting and approval process that included more than 25 drafts, multiple interested party meetings, and 10 SBE Board meetings.[1]

Our compliments to the Board members and Board staff, and especially to Senior Tax Counsel Bradley Heller, who was instrumental in the project.

This article will focus exclusively on how the new RTAs impact basic aspects of appeals to the SBE from actions of the FTB. Chapter 4 of the RTAs provides rules applicable only to appeals from actions of the FTB. Chapter 5 provides rules for general Board hearing procedures. Where there is

a conflict between Chapter 4 and Chapter 5, the provisions of Chapter 4 control. RTA 5410(b).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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