Head of Household (HOH) Audit Letter – 2011 Tax Year

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Purpose of bulletin

To inform staff that on July 23, 2012, we began mailing the Head of Household (HOH) audit letters for 2011.


Each year we review the returns of taxpayers who claim the HOH filing status because the qualifications for this filing status are commonly misunderstood.

We anticipate mailing approximately 120,000 HOH audit letters for the 2011 tax year between July 2012 and December 2012.

HOH audit letter

The audit letter tells taxpayers:

  • Why we are reviewing their filing status information.
  • How to obtain assistance with completing the questionnaire.
  • How to return the completed questionnaire.
  • The qualification requirements for HOH.
  • Frequently asked questions about HOH.

The letter also includes information about how to obtain assistance with completing the questionnaire for Spanish speaking taxpayers.

A sample of the 2011 HOH audit letter is available on our website at:


Audit process

Taxpayers should complete the 2011 HOH audit letter and return it to us by the response due date on the letter.

HOH audit staff will:

  • Review completed questionnaires to determine if taxpayers qualify for the HOH filing status.
  • Call taxpayers or send follow up letters if responses are incomplete or contain conflicting information.
  • Send an HOH acceptance letter to qualified taxpayers.
  • Send a Notice of Proposed Assessment disallowing the HOH filing status to taxpayers who do not respond to the audit letter, or do not qualify for the HOH filing status based on their responses to the questionnaire.
  • Assess a failure to furnish information penalty on all taxpayers who do not respond by the due date on the audit letter.

Acceptance letters only apply to the specific tax year we examined and do not qualify taxpayers for any other year.

Taxpayer who e-filed

Taxpayers who filed electronically and claimed the head of household filing status had the option of completing and including an electronic HOH questionnaire (Schedule HOH/FTB 4803E) with their e-filed return. We will not send an HOH audit letter to taxpayers who submitted this information with their return. However, they may still receive a follow up audit letter if the information they provided electronically was incomplete or conflicting.

Mailing schedule and volumes

The 2011 HOH audit letter mailings began on July 23, 2012. We anticipate weekly mailings of approximately 8,500 letters to continue through December 2012.

Taxpayer inquiries

We cannot take the 2011 HOH information over the telephone or in person. Inform the taxpayers to complete and return the audit letter questionnaire by the date specified on their letter. Taxpayers may:

  • Respond using the HOH web Response Application. They will need their social security number and the FTB ID number listed at the top of the audit letter. Using this method of responding to the HOH Audit Letter will expedite the processing of the questionnaire.
  • Return the questionnaire to us by mail.
  • Fax the completed audit questionnaire to the fax number shown on the cover letter.

A list of frequently asked questions is attached to this bulletin. The same questions are also included with the audit letters we mail to taxpayers.

Taxpayers can get more information about HOH, view the FTB Pub. 1540, California Head of Household Filing Status, or access the HOH audit letter response application by visiting ftb.ca.gov and search for HOH filing status.

Head of Household Frequently Asked Questions


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