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Hisserich decision update:
Court order prohibits its application
in head of household cases

A recent court action prohibits us from applying the Hisserich decision in determining head of household filing status.

The Proposition 22 Legal Defense and professionals Fund recently filed a cause of action in Sacramento Superior Court challenging the Board of Equalization's decision in the Hisserich case.

The court issued a writ of mandate ordering us not to follow the Hisserich decision for purposes of determining head of household filing status. At press time, the final outcome of this court action was unknown.

The Hisserich decision was based on a taxpayer who claimed the minor child of

her registered domestic partner as the individual who qualified her for the head of household filing status.

We denied the taxpayer the head of household filing status because the child did not fall within any definition in the statute as an individual who would qualify the taxpayer for the filing status.

The taxpayer filed an appeal with the Board of Equalization, claiming that her domestic partner's minor child was her child under the doctrine of intentional parenthood.

The Board concluded that based on the facts provided, the taxpayer met the requirements for head of household filing status.

Ask the Advocate
picture of Debbie Newcomb Taxpayer Advocate

Debbie Newcomb
Taxpayer Advocate

Q: What is an annual notice and how does it affect my clients?

A: The Taxpayer Bill of Rights requires us to inform all taxpayers with a tax delinquency, at least once a year, in writing, of their delinquent balance due as of the date of the notice. This is called the annual notice process and can be found in Revenue and Taxation Code section 21023. Here's how the section reads:

"(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 1998, the (Franchise Tax) board shall, not less than annually, mail a written notice to each taxpayer who has a tax delinquent account, of the amount of the tax delinquency as of the date of the notice.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to accounts where a previously mailed notice to the address of record was returned to the board as undeliverable, or to accounts that are discharged from accountability."

If any of your clients have a delinquency in a qualifying tax year (1998 and subsequent) they will receive at least one (annual) notice from us, stating the amount owed at the time the notice was issued.

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Laws and Legislation

Summary of legislation signed into law

Several legislative measures affecting the Franchise Tax Board were signed into law. We've summarized them below. These are only summaries. If you want to learn more about a legislative measure you read about here, go to our Law and Legislation webpage located on our website, You can also find comprehensive information about all legislative measures on the Internet at, the Official California Legislation Information website.

AB 10 (Corbett) - This act conforms state law to the 1999 federal changes affecting real estate investment trusts (Stats. 2001, Ch. 04).

AB 25 (Migden) - This act makes a variety of changes to state laws regarding domestic partners, 

including allowing several existing taxpayer benefits for medical expenses and health insurance benefits to include a taxpayer's domestic partner and a domestic partner's dependents (Stats. 2001,Ch. 893).

AB 44 (Wiggins) - This act adds the earthquake that occurred in September of 2000 in Napa, California, to the current list of specified disasters in the Personal Income Tax Law and the Bank and Corporation Tax Law and allows special disaster treatment of losses sustained as a result of that earthquake
(Stats. 2001, Ch. 618).

AB 46 (Washington) - This act authorizes the Trade and Commerce Agency to designate an additional three enterprise zones expanding the number of enterprise zones from 39 to 42 (Stats. 2001, Ch. 587).

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November/December 2001

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