California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Sends ‘Head of Household’ Audit Letters

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced mailing more than 90,000 audit letters to taxpayers to verify their “Head of Household” (HOH) filing status on their 2013 state tax return.

Each year FTB reviews tax returns of taxpayers who claim the HOH filing status because the qualifications are commonly misunderstood. Individuals can generally claim the HOH filing status on their tax return if they are unmarried, have cared for a qualified person for more than half the year, and paid more than half the cost of maintaining their home.

Taxpayers who can claim this filing status benefit from a higher standard deduction and lower tax rates compared to the single filing status. More than two million or about 15 percent of California taxpayers use this filing status each year.

Taxpayers who do not qualify will have their tax reassessed at either the single or married-filing-separate filing status. FTB assessed $34 million in additional tax to the nearly 36,000 taxpayers who used this status last year and did not meet its requirements.

FTB encourages taxpayers who receive a HOH letter to respond promptly by completing the enclosed questionnaire. Failure to respond will result in a tax assessment and also could result in a penalty.

Questionnaires can be submitted by any of these methods:

• Respond electronically at ftb.ca.gov. Search for HOH Audit Letter Web Response.

• Respond by fax at 866.223.8195. 

• Respond by mail using the pre-addressed envelope provided with the audit letter.

September 23, 2014 by Lee Reams Sr.
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