New Services Help Taxpayers Dealing With Tax Debts
We realize times are tough and taxpayers may be struggling to pay their tax liabilities.
When a taxpayer can’t pay, we prefer to work with them to resolve the collection issue sooner than later.
Our collection strategy is to encourage and ensure taxpayers resolve their debts as quickly as possible through the method best suited for their situation. We want to help them achieve long-term compliance. We often encounter people in difficult circumstances and handle their accounts with understanding. It is important to us that we provide consistent and equitable treatment to all taxpayers.
To avoid collection action we encourage taxpayers to file required tax returns on time and pay their liability in full. If they cannot, they should enter into an installment agreement, submit an acceptable Offer In Compromise (OIC), or explain your financial hardship or other circumstances that prevents you from paying the liability.
We are excited to share some new and existing services for taxpayers.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Installment Agreement (IA)
Beginning last March, taxpayers with financial hardships we’re able to establish a payment plan through our automated phone line at 800.689.4776. The service is available in both English and Spanish. Taxpayers answer questions through our IVR system and can set up a payment plan in about eight minutes. Taxpayers can also go online to apply for an IA request at ftb.ca.gov under Payment Options. Taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less and can pay off their balance due within 60 months generally qualify.
In April, we initiated Live Chat within our collections program. This Internet option gives taxpayers the ability to ask general questions regarding collection issues. Taxpayers can select live chat from our installment agreement, wage garnishment, and bank garnishment webpages. This service is not secure so taxpayers should not share personal information such as their SSN and bank account number.
Taxpayers now have the option of choosing our new Virtual Hold feature to request a call back instead of waiting on hold. This option holds the taxpayer’s place in queue and will call the taxpayer back at the number provided. More than 309,000 taxpayers have taken advantage of this feature since January.
Outbound Contact – Coming in June 2012
Starting in late June, we will use an automated calling system to contact taxpayers to resolve their collection issues. We will call taxpayers and immediately connect them with a live customer service agent or leave a message for them to call us back. We expect this new contact method will assist us to help even more taxpayers resolve their issues and avoid entering our involuntary collection process.
We are ready to assist taxpayers already in the collection process who need more help.
We are aware many lenders are working with customers who have a hardship. If taxpayers are looking to refinance or sell a home and there is a state tax lien filed, there are options. Taxpayers, their representatives, or their lenders, may request that we “subordinate” or lower the lien priority to allow a financial institution to refinance or modify the loan. When a home is selling for less than the loan balance, we can remove the tax lien from the property to allow the homeowner to complete the sale.
Offer in Compromise (OIC)
An OIC is for taxpayers who do not have, and will not have in the foreseeable future, the income, assets, or means to pay their tax liability. The program allows taxpayers to submit an application and offer a lesser amount for payment of a nondisputed final tax liability. We consider each case’s unique facts and circumstances and generally approve an offer when the amount offered represents the most we can expect to collect within a reasonable period of time. For more information, go to ftb.ca.gov and search for offer in compromise.
One of our primary responsibilities is to collect and account for state income tax revenue. In collecting this revenue, we commit to the fair administration of the tax laws and partner with taxpayers and their representatives to resolve compliance issues. We want to help.