Office of Tax Appeals

The Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) is an independent and impartial appeals body created by the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017. The office was established to hear appeals from California taxpayers regarding various taxes and fees administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the Franchise Tax Board. Tax disputes involving personal income, corporate franchise and income, sales and use, excise and other taxes and fees are decided by a three-member panel of Administrative Law Judges, each of whom is an expert in tax law. The office is independent of the state’s tax agencies. Appeals are heard in Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles.

Our Pledge

Every appeal made to the Office of Tax Appeals will be decided by a neutral, objective and expert panel of Administrative Law Judges. Taxpayers may choose to be either represented or represent themselves in any appeal.  Appeal procedures will be clearly explained to every taxpayer, and all taxpayers will be treated with respect throughout the appeal process. No matter how large or small, simple or complex, every appeal will be carefully considered, addressed in a timely manner, and receive a written opinion. The appeal process is intended to be as informal as possible and taxpayers do not need special training or experience to present a case. Written opinions issued by Office of Tax Appeals will be based on facts in the case and a uniform application of state tax law.

Upcoming Events Month of June 2018

Appeals Hearing – June 19, 2018 and June 26, 2018

June 19, 2018 Los Angeles 9:00 a.m.
June 26, 2018 Sacramento 9:00 a.m.

Starting the Appeal Process

Taxpayers may file an appeal once the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), issues a Notice of Action or Appeals Bureau Decision with an “appeal-by” date. You must file a written appeal with the OTA by that time by mailing or faxing in the following:

  • A copy of the notice from either the FTB or the CDTFA
  • A written request for a hearing with specific grounds or reasons supporting your position that you do not owe the tax or fee.
  • Any documents such as bank statements or receipts that support your case.
  • Please see our draft regulations for more information.

If You Need Help

General Information

General information about OTA and the appeals process is provided in our general information brochure available through the links below.

English

Spanish

Chinese

Tagalog

Appeals Process Assistance

Taxpayers who have questions about the appeal process or would like additional information should contact our office and OTA staff will be happy to assist you. For specific questions about the process, OTA’s Ombudsperson may be reached at 916-206-4355 or at dana.holmes@ota.ca.gov.

Financial Hardship

If you are a taxpayer experiencing financial hardship, you have options that do not involve filing an appeal.  Both the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) accept installment plans for taxpayers who need to pay tax obligations over time. Both tax agencies also have Offer-In-Compromise (OIC) programs, which allow taxpayers in certain circumstances to pay a reduced amount to the state. FTB OIC and CDTFA OIC.

Legal Assistance

Taxpayers who have filed appeals with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) are able to seek free legal assistance through the CDTFA’s Tax Appeals Assistance Program, which is managed by the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate.

Taxpayers may represent themselves or be represented by an attorney, CPA, or any person over the age of 18 of their choice.