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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Head of Household (HOH) Audit Letter - 2009 Tax Year

Purpose of bulletin

To tell staff that we began mailing Head of Household audit letters this month.


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

We anticipate mailing approximately 135,000 HOH audit letters for the 2009 tax year between July and December 2010.

HOH audit letter

The audit letter tells taxpayers:

  • Why we are reviewing their filing status information.
  • How to get help completing the questionnaire for English and Spanish speaking taxpayers.
  • How to return the completed questionnaire.
  • The qualification requirements for HOH.
  • Frequently asked questions about HOH.

See a sample of the 2009 HOH audit letter.

Audit process

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. A failure to furnish information penalty will be assessed on all taxpayers who do not respond by the due date on the letter.

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

Taxpayers 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 2009 HOH audit letter mailings began in July 2010. We anticipate weekly mailings of approximately 7,000 letters to continue through December 2010.

Taxpayer inquiries

We cannot take the 2009 HOH information over the telephone or in person. Tell taxpayers to complete and return the questionnaire by the date specified on their letter. Taxpayers may:

  • Respond to the HOH audit letter online. They will need their social security number and the FTB ID number listed at the top of the audit letter.
  • Return the questionnaire to us by mail.
  • Fax the completed audit questionnaire to the fax number shown on the cover letter.

More information

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