Frivolous tax positions

A frivolous tax position is a way to delay the taxation process. For the Secretary of the Treasury’s list of frivolous tax positions, visit IRS Notice 2010-33.

Taxpayers may not rely on frivolous arguments to avoid or evade state taxes.


Frivolous submission penalty

Why you received this penalty

A “specified frivolous submission” includes material that meets either of the following definitions:

  • Based on a position we identify as frivolous.
  • Delays or impedes federal or state income tax laws.

Penalty amount

  • We may impose a $5,000 penalty if you submit a “specified frivolous submission.”
  • The penalty will not apply if you withdraw the submission in writing within 30 days of our Frivolous Submission Notice.

RTC 19179(a)(c)(d)

Frivolous return penalty

Why you received this penalty

A frivolous return penalty is imposed if all of the following apply:

  • The taxpayer submits what is purported to be a required return.
  • The purported return does not contain sufficient information to judge the substantial correctness of the self-assessment or contains information that, on its face, indicates that the self-assessment is substantially incorrect.
  • The purported return is based on a frivolous position or reflects an attempt to delay or impede administration of the tax laws.

Penalty amount

  • The frivolous return penalty is $5,000, per occurrence.
  • The penalty will not apply if you file a valid return or withdraw the amended return within 30 days of our Frivolous Return Notice.

RTC 19179(a)

Relief of penalties

To request relief from the penalties:

Complete form Request for Chief Counsel to Relieve Penalties (FTB 626).

  • Attach a statement specifying the facts and reasons supporting the request for relief from the penalty
  • FTBs Chief Counsel may reduce all or a portion of the penalty once assessed

The taxpayer cannot appeal or challenge the Chief Counsel's decision.