Franchise Tax Board Auditing ‘Head of Household’
Media Contact Only
Public Affairs Office
For Immediate Release
Sacramento – The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced mailing more than 120,000 audit letters to taxpayers to verify their “Head of Household” (HOH) filing status on their 2011 state tax return.
Each year FTB reviews tax returns of taxpayers who claim the Head of Household filing status because the qualifications are commonly misunderstood. You can generally claim the Head of Household filing status on your tax return if you are unmarried, have cared for a qualified person for more than half the year, and paid more than half the cost of maintaining your home. Taxpayers who can claim this filing status benefit from a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates as compared to the single filing status. More than 2 million California taxpayers use this filing status each year.
Taxpayers who do not qualify will have their tax reassessed at either the single or married-filing-separate filing status. Nearly 28,000 taxpayers who used this status last year did not meet its requirements and were issued $30 million in tax assessments.
FTB encourages taxpayers who receive a Head of Household letter to respond promptly by completing the enclosed questionnaire. Failure to respond could result in a tax assessment and penalty. Questionnaires can be submitted by any of these methods:
- Respond electronically at ftb.ca.gov. Use HOH Audit Letter Web Response page.
- Respond by fax at 866.223.8195.
- Respond by mail using the pre-addressed envelope provided with the audit letter.
FTB provides the following tools on its website to assist taxpayers:
- Head of Household “self-test.”
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
- Publication 1540, “CA Head of Household Filing Status,” in English and Spanish.