For the Press
Tax Analysts Files Suit Demanding Transparency in California <br>Seeks Court Help to Force the California Franchise Tax Board to Provide Tax Audit ManualsJune 12, 2014
FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Tax Analysts, the nonprofit, independent provider of federal, state, and international tax news and analysis, today announced that it has filed an initial complaint in the California Superior Court for Los Angeles County, asking the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to comply with the California Public Records Act (CPRA) and disclose two forms used during audits.
The two forms were referenced in an FTB multistate audit technique manual, which the board makes available on its website and they could be among the deciding factors when auditors determine whether a company will be subject to a unitary audit. However, taxpayers and practitioners said they have heard only rumors about the forms’ existence and that the FTB is not forthcoming with information about them.
“This is one of the more extreme examples of administering a tax system in the dark,” said Christopher E. Bergin, Tax Analysts president and publisher. “Tax administration should be transparent to the taxpayer; it should not be about having information the taxpayer doesn't have so the government can have the advantage. We are talking about forms here. That just seems unfair on its face.”
On February 12 Tax Analysts requested blank copies of the two audit forms under the CPRA. The FTB has declined to disclose the forms, arguing that they contain proprietary information, are obsolete, or that disclosure would invade the board’s deliberative process. On June 11 Tax Analysts filed suit against the FTB to demand disclosure of the forms.
“State and local tax transparency is an emerging and important issue,” Bergin said. “Tax Analysts has taken the lead -- and successfully so -- in promoting transparency in tax administration at the federal level. We have now taken this challenge to the states. We intend to continue. We urge others to join us.”
As part of its public education mission, Tax Analysts seeks transparency in tax laws and more dialogue between tax authorities and taxpayers. Through these and other efforts, Tax Analysts seeks to ensure that tax laws are applied fairly and equally to taxpayers across the country.
Read the story at TaxAnalysts.com.
For more information or to speak with Bergin, please contact Shaima Cardillo at 703-531-4852 or email@example.com, or Shannon David at 703-531-4835 or Shannon_david@tax.org.