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FTB Penalizes Frivolous Submissions

June 2009 - We will begin imposing a $5,000 penalty in response to a specified frivolous submission pursuant to R&TC Section 19179(d).

The law provides for the imposition of a penalty for "specified frivolous submissions.” A frivolous submission is based on an identified frivolous position or it reflects a desire to delay or impede the administration of federal or state income tax laws.

Any person who submits a "specified frivolous submission" must pay a $5,000 penalty, unless the person withdraws the submission in writing within 30 days of our notice that the submission is a "specified frivolous submission.”

When a frivolous submission is identified, we send a letter (FTB 9931) to the taxpayer stating that we determined the specified frivolous submission.

If the specified frivolous submission is withdrawn in writing within 30 days after the notice is sent, the penalty imposed under 19179(d) does not apply with respect to that submission.

If it is not withdrawn in writing, and the penalty is imposed, a taxpayer can contest the frivolous submission penalty either, or both, of the following ways:

  • Request relief from the penalty by submitting FTB 626, Request for Chief Counsel to Relieve Penalties.
  • Pay the penalty in full and file a claim for refund, provided the claim for refund is filed within the statute of limitations.

This penalty is in addition to any other penalty provided by law and applies to returns filed or submitted on or after January 1, 2005.

To find out more about frivolous submissions, go to and search for frivolous submissions. Currently, we are developing a website with additional information.

You or your clients may call us at 916.845.7790 (not toll free) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.