Guide to Resolving California Back Taxes & Other Tax Problems

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California Back Taxes


If you are facing problems paying California State taxes, the State, just like the IRS, offers solutions to not only extend a filing, but also a payment, with an Installment Agreement if you cannot pay your taxes in full. In rare cases, the Franchise Tax Board will consider an Offer In Compromise (a rare but way of actually paying less than you owe).

The State of California Franchise Tax Board is the state agency that is responsible for administering the state’s personal income tax program, as well as the corporate tax program. Generally, individual taxpayers must file their income tax returns with the Franchise Tax Board, make payment of individual state taxes due and owing to the Franchise Tax Board, and settle any individual state tax-related disputes with the Franchise Tax Board.

CA Installment Agreement (Payment Plan)

If you cannot pay your state tax debt in full, you may be able to enter into an installment agreement with the California Franchise Tax Board that allows you to repay your state tax debt over time. Although an installment agreement does provide for interest and penalties on your unpaid tax debt until it is paid in full, it does offer an option if you are financially unable to pay off your tax debt when it is due.

You may be eligible for an installment agreement if your tax debt is not greater than $25,000, you can repay your tax debt within five years, you have filed all of your required income tax returns, you are not currently paying a tax debt under an installment agreement, and you do not currently have an Order to Withhold, Continuous Order to Withhold, or an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes against you. Additionally, if your tax debt is more than $10,000, or if your installment agreement will last more than three years, then you must certify to the California Franchise Tax Board that you have a financial hardship that prevents you from paying your tax debt in full.

You can request an installment agreement three different ways:

  1. Apply online at https://ftb.ca.gov/online/eIA/Apply_Online.asp.
  2. Apply by phone using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system at 1-800-689-4776 during normal business hours.
  3. Apply by mail by completing and signing page three of form FTB 3567 and mailing it to the following address: State of California, Franchise Tax Board, P.O. Box 2952, Sacramento, CA 95812-2952.

Offer In Compromise

There are some situations in which you may be unable to pay your state tax debt now or in the foreseeable future, due to financial hardship or a lack of assets, income, or means to do so. In this case, you may be eligible to request an offer in compromise from the California Franchise Tax Board, which suggests a lump sum amount that you can pay toward your tax debt.

Generally, an offer in compromise will be approved if the amount offered is the most that the California Franchise Tax Board can reasonably expect to collect from you within a reasonable period of time. Each case is considered individually, based on factors such as your ability to pay, the assets that you own, your present and future income, your present and future expenses, and the potential for changed circumstances in the future.

In order to qualify for an offer in compromise, you must have filed all required income tax returns, fully completed the application for offer in compromise, along with all supporting documentation, agreed to the amount of tax that you owe, and authorized the Franchise Tax Board to obtain your credit report and verify the information reported on your application.

The application for an offer in compromise is located within Form FTB 4905 PIT Booklet. This booklet also contains a checklist of the required documentation that you must submit with your application for an offer in compromise. You also can request a booklet by calling 1-800-338-0505, selecting “personal income tax form requests,” and entering Code 971. For more information about offers in compromise, you can call 1-916-845-4787.

CA Tax Filing Extensions

There is no need to file an extension in California, as taxpayers automatically get filing extensions till October 15th. All you need to do is file by October 15th. Realize that this is not an extension to pay, but an extension to file. Figure out what you owe and pay it by 4/15 in order to avoid incurring additional penalties and interest.

Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Office

The Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Office is available to independently review your unresolved tax problems. You also can ask general tax questions and get information about the California state tax system.

You can reach the Advocate Hotline at 1-800-883-5910.

You also can reach the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate’s Office by email and by U.S. mail at Executive Liaison Section MS A381, Franchise Tax Board, P.O. Box 157, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-0157.

Contact Information

Automated Telephone Service – 1-800-338-0505

Offers automated services 24 hours per day, seven days per week to order current tax forms and publications, check on the status of your tax refund, balance due, or payments received, and get answers to frequently asked tax questions.

Telephone Assistance – 1-800-852-5711
TTY/TDD Assistance – 1-800-822-6268

Offers customer service representatives for assistance by telephone during weekdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Online Services / Website - https://ftb.ca.gov/

Offers free e-filing of your income tax return, status of your tax refund, address changes, account status, downloading and printing various tax forms and publications, and applications for installment payment plans.

Live Chat

If you have internet access, you also can have a live chat with a representative between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays.

In-Person Taxpayer Service Centers

Offers in-person customer service representatives for assistance during weekdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Oakland – 1515 Clay St, Ste 305
Sacramento – 3321 Power Inn Rd, Ste 250
Los Angeles – 300 S Spring St, Ste 5704
San Diego – 7575 Metropolitan Dr, Ste 201
San Francisco – 121 Spear St, Ste 400
Santa Ana – 600 W Santa Ana Blvd, Ste 30

Getting Professional Help to Resolve Your Tax Problems

BackTaxesHelp.com's partners can help you resolve IRS and CA state tax problems. Whether you are facing a bank levy (bank account garnishment), a wage levy (tax wage garnishment), a tax lien, mounting penalties, or other problems, there is a solution for you. We created a strong and diverse team of tax professionals who can help file, and potentially reduce and resolve State and IRS taxes. All of our tax professionals will provide you with a free consultation to give you your options and likely outcomes. The free quote and consultation come with no strings attached.



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Quick Links For California State Taxes

Income Tax Forms - Current, Previous Years and More
California State Franchise Tax Board Contact Information
Income Tax Refund Status Check

Important State Tax Addresses:

Tax Return and Payment Address:
FRANCHISE TAX BOARD
PO BOX 942840
SACRAMENTO, CA 
94240-0002

Estimated Tax Address:
FRANCHISE TAX BOARD
PO BOX 942867 
SACRAMENTO, CA
94267-0031

Amended Return Mailing Address:
FRANCHISE TAX BOARD
PO BOX 942840
SACRAMENTO, CA 
94240-0002