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.
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.
Appeals Hearings – August 16-17, 2022, August 24, 2022, and August 30-31, 2022
August 16-17, 2022 Cerritos (In-Person)
August 24, 2022 Sacramento (In-Person)
August 30-31, 2022 (Virtual)
Click here to listen to OTA’s livestreamed hearings on YouTube
Scheduled Oral Hearings
Information related to the impact Coronavirus (COVID-19) has on current oral hearings before the Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) may be found here. OTA is now conducting limited in-person oral hearings. Taxpayers should expect a delay of at least several months before an in-person oral hearing can be scheduled. Participants in an OTA oral hearing can expect the following precautions to be in place at the hearing:
- Temperature checks will be administered to all in attendance.
- Attendees will be asked to wear a mask.
- Sanitation stations will be provided.
- Hearing participants will be separated by plexiglass dividers.
- Room capacity will be strictly limited; parties will be required to wait outside the hearing room until the case is called.
- High grade air filters will be continuously running in the hearing room.
- Surfaces will be sanitized between hearings.
In addition to limited in-person hearings, OTA continues to offer taxpayers the option to have a virtual oral hearing using videoconferencing technology. OTA also has facilities and equipment available for use in Sacramento and Los Angeles to facilitate teleconference hearings.
For any questions about these options, taxpayers should contact OTA’s Ombudsperson at 916-206-4355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check for Symptoms of COVID-19 Prior to Your Hearing Date
Please contact OTA at the phone number or email listed in your hearing package to reschedule your hearing if, in ten days or less prior to your hearing, you experience any of the following:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Recent loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Note that temperature checks will be performed prior to entering the hearing room. If any person has a fever above 100.3 then, they will be asked not to enter. The in-person hearing may be rescheduled, or the taxpayer may elect to have a remote hearing or have the case decided on the written record.
Starting the Appeal Process
Taxpayers may appeal an assessment or refund claim denial originating from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). You must file an appeal with OTA through the Office of Tax Appeals Portal (OTAP), which can also be accessed at appeal.ota.ca.gov.
Alternately, you can file an appeal by mailing or faxing the following:
- Your completed OTA Request for Appeal Form or a written request for an appeal with specific grounds or reasons supporting your position that you do not owe the tax or fee.
- A copy of the jurisdictional document, if issued, by the FTB or the CDTFA.
- Any documents such as bank statements or receipts that support your case.
For more information on filing an appeal, please see our regulations here.
If You Need Help
General information about OTA and the appeals process is provided in our general information brochure available through the links below.
Language Access Complaint Process
The Office of Tax Appeals is fully committed to ensuring that all persons accessing its services are provided these services in an appropriate and timely manner. The Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act requires the Office of Tax Appeals to provide effective communication to all people utilizing public services. If you feel we were unable to serve you because of a language barrier (limited-English proficiency) or other communication differences, the Office of Tax Appeals may be able to provide additional communication assistance that will assist you with the information or services you have requested. See additional steps here.
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 email@example.com.
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.
Taxpayers who have filed appeals with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) are able to seek free legal assistance through the CDTFA’s Tax Appeals Assistance Program (TAAP) and the FTB’s Tax Appeals Assistance Program, which is managed by the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate.
Prior Formal Opinions of the Board of Equalization.
OTA is the successor in interest to the State Board of Equalization (BOE). Prior decisions of the BOE may be cited in cases before OTA in support of a party’s argument. For a copy of any former BOE opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the name of the case and the year the opinion was issued.