Senator Gaines Introduces Bill To Protect Taxpayers

Thursday, February 16, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today announced Senate Bill 11, a measure that would immediately and proactively waive penalties and interest for taxpayers when a California State Board of Equalization (BOE) system failure prevents them from making tax payments on time.

Under existing law, tax payments made after the filing deadline are subject to interest and penalty. The BOE is currently authorized to waive any penalties or interest if the late payment is due to a disaster or BOE error, however, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to file paperwork and petition for a refund.

“This bill would grant the BOE authority to relieve California taxpayers and businesses from having to jump through hoops to settle up with the government for money they never should have owed. No paperwork, no waiting period, no lost capital,” said Senator Gaines. “Why should the government make mistakes and taxpayers have to pay the price?”

Senate Bill 11 comes on the heels of four separate BOE computer system failures over the past year, two of which occurred during peak filing deadlines leaving taxpayers unable to pay their tax bills on time.

During one of the outages, taxpayers attempted to access the BOE’s website 24,000 times. More than 600 taxpayers subsequently filed requests seeking relief of more than $600,000 in penalties imposed because of the technical glitch.

“It’s not easy for businesses to survive in this state. Besides business competitors, our employers have to navigate the strictest meal and rest period law, expansive and expensive leave rules, punishingly high workers compensation rates, exorbitant energy costs, and unemployment insurance payments that have been climbing every year because the state is in debt to the federal government,” said Senator Gaines. “The last thing any business needs is to compete against the government for tax money owed only because of a glitch in California’s IT. Computers fail, but government doesn’t have to.”