Board Lowers Gas Tax 2.2 cents per Gallon
During the Board of Equalization’s February meeting, I joined a 3-2 vote to lower the state excise tax on gasoline by 2.2 cents per gallon effective July 1, 2016.
Our vote was simply a matter of fairness. Californians overpaid gas tax last year because of a bizarre formula known as the ‘gas tax swap’ passed by lawmakers in 2010. Lowering the rate is the right thing to do, and I’m sure Californians will welcome this reduction.
Unfortunately, even after the cut goes into effect, Californians will still pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. What we need now is for lawmakers to simplify our tax laws and look for ways to provide value for the money that Californians send to government.
“I Take Public Transit … But I Hate It”
Should the government continue to divert huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to public transit or use the money to repair our crumbling roads?
That’s the question I ask in my latest op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. Take a look at the article and let me know what you think.
Fire Prevention Fee
Fire Prevention Fee bills for the 2015-16 fiscal year will begin mailing on March 1. This so-called “fee” is nothing more than an unfair tax that continues to extract dollars from more than 700,000 hardworking rural Californians.
Approximately 10,000 bills will be sent each day in alphabetical order by county. The mailing schedule is available online.
In order to protect your eligibility for a refund–should the class action lawsuit against the fire fee succeed–property owners should protest by filing a Petition for Redetermination within 30 days of the billing.
If you haven’t filed a petition in the past, I still encourage you to file. According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, one timely filing is all that is needed to be eligible for a refund for subsequent billing years.
You can find more information on how to appeal by visiting www.calfirefee.com/appeal.
Where’s My Franchise Tax Board Refund?
Some California taxpayers are experiencing delays receiving their income tax refunds. Particularly frustrating, it’s been difficult to get answers, as most calls are going unanswered at the Franchise Tax Board call center.
In response to an inquiry from my office, FTB reports it has processed 84% of taxpayer returns as of February 22. The FTB also has made an adjustment to its online tool that provides information to taxpayers regarding their refund status. According to FTB, this change has increased the level of answered calls from 37% to 45%.
Sometimes, refunds are delayed because they need additional review. This includes checking for accuracy, completeness, and common indicators of fraud or identity theft practices.
If you have questions or complaints or are having trouble reaching FTB, feel free to contact my office at 916-445-2181.
Q: What can I do if I believe I’ve been a victim of tax fraud?
A: The Board of Equalization (BOE) includes an investigations team tasked with both investigating fraud and identifying new fraud schemes. Complaints can be filed with the BOE online.
You can reach the BOE’s Investigations Division at 916-324-0105.