Head of Household (HOH) Audit Process

Franchise Tax Board reviews the tax returns of taxpayers who claim head of household filing status because this filing status is often misunderstood. We ask some taxpayers to provide information to determine if they qualify to use the head of household filing status.

Head of Household Audit Letter

Our Head of Household Audit Letter asks you specific questions in the form of an audit questionnaire. Your answers to the questions in the questionnaire help us determine if you correctly used the head of household filing status. Even if you decide you do not qualify, you must complete and submit the questionnaire by the date provided on the audit letter to avoid receiving a Notice of Proposed Assessment.

Incomplete or Conflicting Information Received

If we receive incomplete or conflicting information, we either contact you by telephone or mail you a letter to ask for clarification of incomplete or unclear answers.

Electronic Filed Returns

If you electronically filed your tax return and included a completed questionnaire, you only receive a Head of Household Audit Letter if the questionnaire contains incomplete or conflicting information. In such situations, we mail you a letter requesting clarification for incomplete or unclear answers.

Acceptance Letters

We mail you an acceptance letter if your answers on the questionnaire show you qualify for the head of household filing status. In the acceptance letter, we inform you of your qualification for the head of household filing status for the tax year specified.

Notice of Proposed Assessment

We send you a Notice of Proposed Assessment disallowing the head of household filing status if you do not qualify for the head of household filing status, or do not respond to the audit letter. If you do not respond to the audit questionnaire, we also impose a penalty of 25% of the additional tax owed.