The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has mailed more than 120,000 audit letters to taxpayers to verify their head of household (HOH) filing status on their 2011 state income tax returns. Each year, the FTB reviews the tax returns of taxpayers who claim the HOH filing status because the qualifications are commonly misunderstood. Taxpayers can generally claim the HOH filing status if they are unmarried, have cared for a qualified person for more than half the year, and paid more than half the cost of maintaining their home.
Taxpayers who do not qualify will have their tax reassessed using either the single or married-filing-separate filing status. Nearly 28,000 California taxpayers who claimed the HOH status last year did not meet its requirements.
The FTB encourages taxpayers who receive an HOH audit letter to respond promptly by completing the enclosed questionnaire. Failure to respond could result in a tax assessment and penalty. Questionnaires can be submitted by any of the following methods:
— electronically via the FTB’s HOH Audit Letter Web Response Page ;
— by fax at 866.223.8195; or
— by mail using the pre-addressed envelope provided with the audit letter.
The FTB provides the following tools on its website to assist taxpayers:
— an HOH “self-test” ;
— answers to frequently asked questions; and
— Publication 1540, CA Head of Household Filing Status, in English and Spanish.
News Release , California Franchise Tax. Board, August 8, 2012