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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Head of Household (HOH) Audit Letter – 2013 Tax Year

August 13, 2014

Purpose of Bulletin

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


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 90,000 HOH audit letters for the 2013 tax year between August 2014, and December 2014.

HOH Audit Letter

The audit letter tells taxpayers:

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

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

A sample of the 2013 HOH audit letter is available on our website.

Audit Process

Taxpayers should complete the 2013 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. A failure to furnish information penalty will be assessed on all taxpayers who do not respond by the due date on the audit letter.

Acceptance letters only apply to the specific tax year examined and do not qualify the taxpayer for any other tax 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 2013 HOH audit letter mailings began on August 18, 2014. We anticipate weekly mailings of approximately 5,000 letters to continue through December 2014.

Taxpayer Inquiries

We cannot take the 2014 HOH information over the telephone or in person. Inform 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. The taxpayer 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 question, are available on our website. The same questions are also included with the audit letters we mail to taxpayers. Taxpayers can get more information about HOH or access the HOH web Response Application by visiting our website and searching for HOH filing status.

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