What Does the CDTFA Appeals Process Look Like?

After you get a bill from the Auditor based on a disagreement, you file a petition for redetermination. Unfortunately CDTFA is often backed up with Appeals so petitions for redetermination can take a while to go through the system before you actually get to an appeals conference. Prior to the Appeals conference you have the option of going to CDTFA settlement. CDTFA settlement is a group of settlement officers that are designed to resolve cases before they reach CDTFA appeals. If there's an opportunity for settlement it's suggested that you go to see CDTFA settlement to try and resolve the case. CDTFA settlement process is much less time-consuming, much less expensive and particularly if you're not looking for them to resolve

the case entirely, meaning wipe your liability up to zero, it can be a good opportunity to get some small gains and settlement or concessions. In a greeting for an agreement and depending on what your goal in settlement is, it can be a good opportunity to get some small concessions out of the settlement division in exchange for closing the audit. If you can't agree or if you opted not to go to CDTFA settlement, then you'll proceed to the appeals process. The appeals process is like an informal mediation. There's a hearing officer seated at the head of the table, usually an attorney with the CDTFA. There's you, potentially your representative if you've chosen to hire one and there's the auditor and the auditor's manager. The case starts with the taxpayer. The taxpayer lays out their contentions with the audit and the auditor responds to the CDTFA appeals officer who will put a request for follow-up information usually to the taxpayer and will give the taxpayer anywhere from 14 to 30 days to submit additional information. From there there's usually not a formal face-to-face meeting again unless one is needed. What generally happens is there's a series of documents and submissions and responses that are traded back and forth over teleconference or over email. Eventually when both sides have presented their case as fully as possible the CDTFA appeals officer will render a decision, usually within 90 days of concluding the appeals conference. That's the way the CDTFA audit process works. If you're still unhappy with the CDTFA appeals process, you have the option of going to the office of tax appeals and then litigating your case there; however that's the way appeals functions and that's the playing field that you're dealing with in navigating through the appeals process.


Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law