Chief Counsel Corner
What Type of Legal Guidance does Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Provide on its Public Website?
We frequently provide guidance in the form of written advice. We release legal guidance on our public website, in some cases in redacted form. The type of legal guidance includes:
- FTB Notices
- Technical Advice Memorandums
- Legal Rulings
- Chief Counsel Rulings
- Law Summaries
- Information Letters
- Legal Division Guidance
The legal significance of many of these documents is explained in FTB Notice 2009-08. This document also explains what type of written advice may be given, and how taxpayers may request such advice.
FTB Notices: An FTB notice can be a written statement regarding a procedure that affects taxpayers or other members of the public under California's Revenue and Taxation Code, related statutes, or regulations. In these circumstances, an FTB Notice is equivalent to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Revenue Procedure. An FTB notice can also be a written statement that is issued to provide information concerning well-established principles, recent statutory changes, recent court decisions, new or revised FTB publications, proposed regulations or other matters that should be brought to the attention of the public. In these circumstances, an FTB Notice is equivalent to a notice or announcement issued by the IRS.
FTB Technical Advice Memorandums (TAM): A TAM is advice given by FTB Legal in response to a specific question from FTB staff. The TAM response is based on the laws as of the date of the TAM and for the specific situation posed in the question(s) asked.
FTB Legal Rulings: An FTB Legal Ruling is the conclusion of the Chief Counsel of the FTB on how the law should be applied to a specific set of hypothetical facts, and is equivalent to an IRS Revenue Ruling.
Chief Counsel Rulings: A Chief Counsel Ruling is a written statement issued to a taxpayer by the Chief Counsel of the FTB (or his or her designee) that interprets and applies California income or franchise tax laws to a taxpayer's specific set of facts. They are comparable to IRS Private Letter Rulings (PLRs).
Information Letters: An Information Letter calls attention to a well-established interpretation or principle of tax law without applying it to a specific set of facts. To the extent resources permit, an Information Letter may be issued if the taxpayer’s inquiry indicates a need for general information or if the taxpayer’s request does not meet the requirements of FTB Notice 2009-08 and FTB staff.
Legal Division Guidance: Informal advice provided to external specialty publishers and non-legal staff in a form not generally reduced to formal written guidance that is made available on the department’s website. This guidance generally relates to recently-enacted legislation, and may include frequently-asked questions and responses thereto drafted by Legal division staff. It should be noted that items published under "Legal Division Guidance" are not considered "written advice" that may be relied upon within the meaning of Revenue and Taxation Code Section 21012 and FTB Notice 2009-09.