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State of California Franchise Tax Board

2005 Tax Amnesty: Escrow Companies

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Updated - December 6, 2004

California's 2005 tax amnesty program offers taxpayers a window of opportunity - pay their past-due taxes and interest and they won't have to pay most penalties and fees or fear prosecution. They can correct their tax records and save money at the same time. As a result, you may see an influx in refinancing of real property to pay amnesty tax liabilities. The Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization are administering this program. The following provides some preliminary information about the program, who is eligible to participate, and when to apply.

1. Can my clients pay their amnesty balance through the escrow process?

Yes. Your clients can use escrow proceeds to pay their amnesty balance. To do so, they must file an amnesty application with us by March 31, 2005. They then have until May 31, 2005, to file any past-due or amended tax returns and pay in full the tax and interest. Taxpayers unable to pay in full by May 31, 2005, may be eligible to enter into an amnesty installment agreement that extends their final payment due date to June 30, 2006. However, this extension for payments does not extend the time to file necessary returns.

2. What if my clients want to participate in amnesty, but my title/escrow company cannot submit the amnesty payment to the Franchise Tax Board by May 31, 2005?

Taxpayers whose title/escrow proceeds will not be available for payment by May 31, 2005, may be eligible to enter into an amnesty installment agreement that extends their final payment due date to June 30, 2006. However, this extension for payments does not extend the time to file necessary returns.

3. Will you issue a Demand for Payment of State Tax Lien for the balance due before or after you make any amnesty adjustments to my clients' tax account?

If your clients' Amnesty application is on file with us, we will issue the Demand for Payment of State Tax Lien for the liened balance due which will include any Amnesty adjustments.

4. What can I do if my clients feel the amount on the Demand for Payment of State Tax Lien my company receives from you does not accurately reflect their amnesty balance due?

Send us a request for an updated Demand for Payment of State Tax Lien. Include a copy of the amnesty application your client filed with us. We will issue an updated Demand for Payment of State Tax Lien that reflects the most current amnesty balance due. You may fax your Updated Demand requests to the Franchise Tax Board, Lien Group at (916) 845-4389. Note: if your clients dispute the balance, they must contact the Franchise Tax Board to resolve the dispute. See Question 6 for contact information.

5. Will my clients receive a refund if their escrow payment creates an overpayment on an amnesty tax year?

If we receive and accept your clients' amnesty application before we receive an overpayment on their tax account, we will issue a refund.

6. Where can we get more information?

By Internet at www.ftb.ca.gov, you can get updated tax amnesty-related information, and your clients can:

  • Fill out and print a California Income Tax Amnesty Application.
  • Get their most current amnesty balance approximately two weeks after they file their application.
  • Print 1985 through 2002 California income tax forms.
  • Print other instructions and publications.
  • Get updated tax amnesty-related information.
  • Use electronic payment options.

By telephone, at:

  • 800.338.0505, follow the prompts on this interactive voice response system to:
    • Order a California Income Tax Amnesty Application.
    • Get their most current amnesty balance approximately two weeks after they file their application.
    • Get general tax amnesty information.
  • 800.852.5711, follow the prompts on this interactive voice response system to get tax forms for years 2002 and earlier. When calling from outside the United States, dial (916) 845-6500 (not toll-free). Please allow two weeks to receive your order (three weeks if you live outside California).

Assistance for persons with disabilities:

We comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.Persons with hearing or speech impairments please call 800.822.6268.

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