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Franchise Tax Board Offers Help to Taxpayers Experiencing Financial Stress

Released: January 23, 2009

Sacramento – The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) advises taxpayers facing income tax troubles to contact them for help.

“Taxpayers under financial stress have options,” said State Controller and FTB Chair John Chiang. “Contact the FTB as soon as possible to have a specialist review your account and explain the programs available to you.”

FTB specialists can assist taxpayers by establishing payment plans, granting relief from state tax liens, or delaying some collection actions. FTB can generally grant relief from state tax liens within two weeks for financially distressed homeowners trying to sell or refinance their homes. When a home sells for less than the loan balance, FTB can sometimes remove its tax lien from the property to allow the homeowner to complete the sale. Tax liens typically must be paid before a real estate escrow can close. The tax lien remains in effect on any other property the taxpayer currently holds or later acquires.

FTB can help individuals who are refinancing or modifying an existing home loan. Homeowners can request that FTB allow the new or modified loan to have priority over the tax lien. This allows prior home loans to be refinanced or modified without first having to pay the lien.

More information is available at FTB’s website, ftb.ca.gov, including ways to help taxpayers resolve their accounts through installment agreement requests. For lien information, look under the “Bills and Notices” tab.

Taxpayers who cannot resolve their accounts online should call the phone number listed on their billing notice. Taxpayers without Internet service may request an installment agreement payment plan by calling FTB at 800.689.4776, Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.