On July 10, 2012, the California State Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced that it would implement an automatic dialer system to make outbound calls to individuals to further enhance their collection efforts; which include, but are not limited to, tax liens, bank levies, garnishments ,etc. Businesses will begin to receive automated calls beginning September 2012.
These automatic calls will target individuals (and later businesses) that have been assessed tax liabilities but have not paid them in full (i.e., people or businesses with tax debt). The automated calls will connect you with the collections unit, or if you are not available, leave a general message advising of 'final collections' type notices and rights. This is in addition to the FTB's announcement that it began to serve tax levies on the bank accounts of individuals who have delinquent balances, including penalties, interest, taxes and fees. The FTB expects to issue 475,000 tax levies this year, a 75 percent increase from last year.
Our main concerns with the FTB's new automatic call program in light of its ramped up collection enforcement plan, are that taxpayer rights and privacy rights may be violated and that acts such as these, further erode the treatment of taxpayers on an individual evaluation basis. There is also an increased potential for identify fraud by opportunists. To that end, the BBC recently reported that "the Federal Trade Commission hears from American consumers every day about illegal 'robo-calls' and how intrusive they are."
We strongly encourage taxpayers who are represented by counsel to report any such calls to their tax attorney for consideration and action. If you are not represented currently, please consider consulting with a tax attorney regarding your rights. You can learn more information about tax debt collection resolution and other tax related information on our website or call us for more information.
Moskowitz LLP, A Tax Law Firm, Disclaimer: Because of the generality of this blog post, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Furthermore, in accordance with Treasury Regulation Circular 230, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purposes of (i) avoiding tax related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii.) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any tax related matter addressed herein.