Head of Household Audits
From July to December, we plan to mail approximately 135,000 audit letters to taxpayers to verify their Head of Household (HOH) filing status on their 2010 state tax return.
If your clients do not qualify, we reassessed the tax at either a single or married-filing-separate filing status. Nearly 34,000 taxpayers who used this status last year did not meet its requirements and were issued more than $35 million in tax assessments.
Each year we review tax returns of taxpayers who claim the HOH filing status because taxpayers commonly misunderstand the qualifications. This filing status generally results in lower tax liabilities for unmarried taxpayers who care for a dependent. To qualify, the taxpayer must provide care for more than one-half of the year and pay more than one-half the cost of maintaining their home. The qualifying person must be related to the taxpayer and meet the requirements to be a qualifying child or relative. More than 2 million California taxpayers use this filing status each year.
We advise taxpayers who receive an HOH letter to respond promptly by completing the enclosed questionnaire. Failure to respond could result in a tax assessment and penalty. Questionnaires can be submitted by any of these methods:
- Respond electronically at ftb.ca.gov. Use HOH Audit Letter Web Response page.
- Respond by fax at 866.223.8195.
- Respond by mail using the pre-addressed envelope provided with the audit letter.
We provide the following tools on our website to assist taxpayers:
- Head of Household self-test.
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
- Publication 1540, CA Head of Household Filing Status, in English and Spanish.