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Head of household audit questionnaires arrive in July

The 2005 head of household (HOH) audit season begins in July with the first mailing of audit questionnaires. We look closely at the HOH filing status since it is often claimed incorrectly.

There are some important changes to the program this year. If you have clients claiming the HOH filing status, these facts can help you serve your clients better.

New rules for 2005

New questions on the audit questionnaire for 2005 reflect changes in federal and state law. California Assembly Bill 115 (Stats. 2005, Ch. 691) conforms California law to Public Law 108-311, The Federal Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004. The act provides a "uniform definition of a child." This definition applies to requirements for filing as a head of household, as well as other areas of tax law. Certain clients who previously qualified for head of household may find that they no longer qualify.

E-filers get an advantage

Taxpayers who used FTB's CalFile program were able to attach a Head of Household Questionnaire (form FTB 4803e), to their CalFile return for the first time this year. Generally, taxpayers who completed a form 4803e when they e-filed their tax return will not receive another questionnaire unless their questionnaire was incomplete or they gave us conflicting information.

Need help? We're on the Internet.

On our HOH Webpage you can:

  • Find all the guidelines for claiming and qualifying for the head of household filing status.
  • Get information about our audit process and the answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Take an online self-test to help your clients determine if they qualify for the filing status.
  • Browse the separate sections for tax year 2005 and for pre-2005 tax years.

Our HOH Webpage can be found on the FTB Website. You can also find the HOH Web page by going to our Website at www.ftb.ca.gov and entering the keyword "HOH" into our search engine.

If you don't have Internet access, or if you prefer to phone us, dial (800) 555-4005 for our HOH Automated Assistance Line. It features a self-test similar to the one we offer online. There are also tips on how to complete the audit questionnaire, and answers to frequently asked questions. The assistance line provides information in both English and Spanish.

Clients can also use the assistance line to order a copy of FTB Publication 1540, California Head of Household Filing Status. This publication summarizes much of the information on our Webpage. There is a summary of the general rules for qualifying, self-tests for determining eligibility, frequently asked questions, and definitions of commonly used terms. A Spanish version, FTB Publication 1540SPAN, California Información Sobre el Estado Civil Cabeza de Familia, is also available.