On September 16, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 131, a budget trailer bill clarifying a number of provisions related to the roles of California’s two new tax agencies, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and the Office of Tax Appeals (OTA), which were created to perform many of the California State Board of Equalization’s (BOE) previous duties by the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017. Key clarifications include:
- The CDTFA will conduct appeals conferences related to sales and use taxes in the same manner as the BOE had prior to July 1, 2017, and will apply the BOE’s rules regarding appeals conferences.
- The OTA is not to be construed as a tax court so non-lawyers will be allowed to appear on behalf of taxpayers at appeals hearings.
- The standard of review for taxpayer appeals of OTA decisions is trial de novo in Superior Court.