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Collection Practices

Purpose

At the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), we collect the state’s tax revenue as well as debts owed to other government entities. However, a number of Californians do not pay their delinquent debts. This makes it difficult to fund vital state services and places a heavier tax burden on other taxpayers. To address this issue, we enforce California’s tax laws to ensure that the proper amount of tax revenue is received—no more, no less—and this document details how we accomplish that.

Effective Collections

To collect delinquent debts effectively, we methodically approach debtor accounts, quickly identify all issues, and immediately determine how to resolve those issues. We also hire the most qualified staff. Then we thoroughly train them, mentor their development, provide them advanced training courses, and evaluate them regularly. As a result, our entire collections staff has a substantial knowledge of tax laws and FTB collection procedures.

Assisting taxpayers with delinquent tax issues, we use the telephone as our primary tool, trying to help them resolve their accounts during the first phone call. We explain complex legal issues in clear terms, address every account based on its particular circumstances, and determine taxpayers’ willingness to comply. We also establish specific dates for taxpayers to file returns, pay taxes, or provide documents to resolve their accounts. 

While we provide taxpayers the tools to resolve their accounts, we do not permit unmerited delays, numerous broken promises, or tax evasion. We also follow-up on accounts timely. When we identify tax evaders, we take actions against them. We may set up tax assessments, seize income, file liens, recommend a criminal investigation, or take other actions. But we always use the least intrusive actions possible.

Professional Service

We often encounter people in difficult circumstances, and we handle their accounts with professionalism. We treat them courteously, listen to them, objectively evaluate their accounts, and make appropriate decisions. 

At its core, professionalism is customer service, and we serve the State of California and all of its taxpayers. So though we are courteous and fair, this does not lessen our official responsibilities. Our primary focus remains the resolution of delinquent accounts.

Successful Outcome

We collect taxes successfully while addressing the needs of all our customers. We accomplish this by collecting the state’s revenue in the fairest manner, at the earliest time, at the least expense. By doing so, we distribute the tax burden equitably, discourage tax evasion, and fund the state’s services that make California a wonderful place in which to live.