California Sales Tax – Board of Equalization

The California State Board of Equalization is the public organization in California that is charged with administering sales tax, use tax, and property tax. Most interactions with the Board of Equalization though come in the form of the administration and collection of sales taxes.

Have you been notified of an impending California sales tax audit? Our comprehensive guide will teach you what to expect and how to protect your business.
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Sales Taxes in California

Sales taxes are imposed on individuals and businesses for the privilege of selling goods in California. Sales tax is measured by determining a business’s gross receipts minus any non-taxable sales. The Board of Equalization in California has several thousand employees, who collect unpaid sales and use taxes as well as administer sales/use tax audits.

California sales tax matters involving the Board of Equalization can be particular difficult for taxpayers to handle without the involvement of an experienced sales tax attorney. The Board of Equalization tends to take a rather aggressive approach when dealing with taxpayers and in collecting revenue.

If You Are Still In Business

For businesses that are still going, the Board of Equalization will often insist on extreme payment terms from the business, irrespective of the other financial consequences to that business, in order to pay off a sales tax liability.

If You Are Out of Business

For businesses that are no longer in existence, the Board of Equalization has been known to cast a wide net in order to assess as many individuals as possible for a defunct business’s sales tax liability. Many of these assessments have no basis in the reality of the actual business operations (i.e. who was actually responsible for the sales tax liability). However, the Board of Equalization will still put the burden on taxpayers to prove their innocence.

Unfortunately, often times you are guilty until proven innocent against the State Board of Equalization.

What Brotman Law Can Do to Help

Brotman Law is well versed when it comes to dealing with the Board of Equalization.

  • We take a friendly approach to resolving sales tax collections cases, but, in light of the power the Board of Equalization wields, underlie that with a tough no-nonsense attitude.
  • Board of Equalization matters are handled with a clear vision of the strategy that we will use to resolve the matter and what the client wants the outcome to be.
  • We have a robust sales tax audit defense practice that combines practical knowledge of tax and audit procedure with a heavy background in analyzing and dissecting statistical methods.

Many attorneys lack the ability to approach and audit from a statistical perspective and, as a result are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to advocating for their clients. Approaching a sales tax audit from a mathematical standpoint, not just a legal one, has been shown to make a key difference in the overall outcome.

Unlike other tax issues, we believe the involvement of counsel in any matter involving the Board of Equalization is not just a luxury. Rather, it is a necessity in order to protect your taxpayer rights.

We strongly encourage you to take your sales tax matter seriously.


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