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AB-795 Free Tax Filing and Reporting Act of 2017.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/27/2017 09:00 PM
AB795:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 27, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 795


Introduced by Assembly Member Gipson

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Section 6736 of add Section 42 to the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 795, as amended, Gipson. Sales and use taxes. Free Tax Filing and Reporting Act of 2017.
Existing law requires taxes to be paid to the state, including sales and use taxes, payroll taxes, and income and franchise taxes. Under existing law the Legislature finds and declares that taxes are the most sensitive point of contact between citizens and their government and establishes the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate in specified agencies and makes the advocate or his or her designee responsible for coordinating the resolution of taxpayer complaints and problems, including any taxpayer complaints regarding unsatisfactory treatment of taxpayers, as specified.
This bill would require the Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department, to, among other things, develop tutorials and a joint Internet Web site designed to educate California taxpayers on how to self-file their income, sales and use, and payroll taxes and how to comply with basic tax laws. The bill would require the Internet Web site to include, among other information, the contact information for the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate of each agency. The bill would also make specified findings and declarations.

Existing sales and use tax laws impose taxes on retailers measured by the gross receipts from the sale of tangible personal property sold at retail in this state, or on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property purchased from a retailer for storage, use, or other consumption in this state, and provide various exemptions from those taxes. Existing law authorizes the State Board of Equalization to file a certificate relating to a person’s unpaid sales and use tax, within 10 years after the amount is due, with the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of Sacramento County or of any county in the state requesting judgment be entered.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares that:
(a) Taxpayers’ bills of rights for the Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department, respectively, specify that each agency is required to assist taxpayers in complying with state tax laws (Article 3 (commencing with Section 7080) of Chapter 8 of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, Part 10.7 (commencing with Section 21001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, and DE 195 Rev. 14 (5-16) as issued by the Employment Development Department).
(b) The training, collaboration, education, and programs required in the Free Tax Filing and Reporting Act of 2017 (Section 42 of the Revenue and Taxation Code) will implement the policies of each of the taxpayers’ bill of rights, including each agency’s obligation to inform the public of common taxpayer errors and ways to avoid them, identifying areas for improving communications with taxpayers, and providing updated information and assistance to increase compliance.
(c) This bill therefore is instrumental in furthering the missions of the Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department.

SEC. 2.

 Section 42 is added to the Revenue and Taxation Code, to read:

42.
 (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Free Tax Filing and Reporting Act of 2017.
(b) (1) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall, as a part of their professional development training program, provide their employees who volunteer with the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program an eight hour orientation class on the laws relative to the California tax gap, including key noncompliance issues, current laws related to filing and reporting all California income, sales and use, and payroll taxes, and the history of the VITA program.
(2) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department also shall train VITA volunteers on California tax law and the tax gap, including key noncompliance issues. This training shall not exceed eight hours.
(3) The training required under this subdivision is in addition to any federal required training for VITA volunteers.
(c) (1) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall collaborate on the development of tutorials and a joint Internet Web site designed to educate California taxpayers on how to self-file their income, sales and use, and payroll taxes and how to comply with basic tax laws.
(2) The tutorials and joint Internet Web site shall include, but not be limited to, instructions on how to use the tax tables and the California efile program, other existing tutorial programs by each agency, and contact information for each agency’s customer service centers and each agency’s Office of the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate.
(d) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall collaborate on the enhanced development of a centralized Internet Web site or Web portal where taxpayers, including individuals eligible for services from the VITA program, can access information, including, but not limited to, federal, state, and local poverty prevention resources, register for free tax filing and reporting services, and use state tutorials on reporting all of their California taxes and how to claim the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit.
(e) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall develop and annually present an eight hour seminar for college and university students and other participating VITA volunteers on changes in California tax law, the California tax gap, including key areas on noncompliance, and the use of the agencies’ tutorials on self filing and reporting. The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall collaborate on developing the information to be presented at the seminar and the goal of the seminar shall be to provide an opportunity to students from several different colleges and universities the opportunity to attend and enhance their ability to assist California taxpayers with complying with California tax law.
(f) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall participate in several VITA events each year in each region of the state, which means the northern, southern, central, and coastal regions, to provide hands-on training and assistance in helping taxpayers pay their sales and use, income, and payroll taxes. Each agency shall determine the number of events that the agency will attend.
(g) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall establish a joint employment initiative, which is to be incorporated into their existing employment recruitment plan, that recruits college and university students who complete VITA-related training or coursework and work at VITA program sites by informing those students of employment opportunities with the agencies.
(h) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall use public service announcements, free media, electronic mailing, and add-on messaging to more effectively educate taxpayers with whom the agencies communicate with in the performance of their normal duties.
(i) The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall encourage California technology companies to provide support for training taxpayers to self-file at free tax preparation sites and events and participating colleges and universities and to assist with providing the appropriate tax preparation software to enable self-filing in order to help bridge the technology gap and create self-sustaining compliance among taxpayers and the working poor.
(j)  The Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department shall provide grants, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to colleges and universities for enhanced training of student VITA volunteers. The goal of the grant program is to help educate low-income individuals on reporting their taxes, claiming the federal and state earned income tax credit, and accessing poverty prevention programs. Grant recipients shall be required to annually report to the Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, and the Employment Development Department an accounting on the use of grant funds, the number of VITA volunteers participating in, and individuals served through, the VITA program, the total number of returns filed and credits claimed, and data collected through the grant recipient’s tax filing interview questionnaire, that shall include information communicated about California’s tax gap.

SECTION 1.Section 6736 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is amended to read:
6736.

If any amount required to be paid to the state under this part is not paid when due, the board may, within 10 years after the amount is due, file in the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of Sacramento County or of any county within the state a certificate specifying the amount required to be paid, interest and penalty due, the name and address as it appears on the records of the board of the person liable, the compliance of the board with this part in relation to the determination of the amount required to be paid, and a request that judgment be entered against the person in the amount required to be paid, together with interest and penalty as set forth in the certificate.