Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fwd: We Have a Right to Know What We Owe: Steel Newsletter for April, 2012

: We Have a Right to Know What We Owe: Steel Newsletter for April, 2012

We Have a Right to Know What We Owe: Steel Newsletter for April, 2012
The Michelle Steel Newsletter

"Fighting for California Taxpayers"


Michelle Steel: Fighting for California Taxpayers


Dear Friends:

California taxpayers have a right to know what taxes they owe if they are going to be held liable for paying them.

That sounds simple enough but, unfortunately, that basic rule is not consistently applied.

At our monthly Board of Equalization hearing in Culver City, we heard the case of a taxpayer who bought artwork from outside of California in 2004. He didn't know that he owed "use tax" when he picked up his purchase at U.S. Customs, so he didn't pay it. But the BOE knew.

Customs officials send invoices that they receive, for products shipped into California from out of state, to the BOE. The BOE then matches those invoices to California income tax returns to see if the purchaser paid use tax on the product. It can take two years or more before the BOE processes an unpaid use tax liability. Two or more years, in which purchasers may not know what they owe.

That's what happened to this taxpayer. He had no idea that he owed use tax until the BOE sent him a bill in 2009. The taxpayer paid in full, but was forced to pay substantial interest on his tax bill.

This should never happen.

If Californians are going to be held responsible for tax liabilities, tax agencies must do everything they can to let taxpayers know what those liabilities are, and how to pay them.

Not doing so is just wrong. As the Chair of the BOE's Customer Service and Administrative Efficiency Committee, I will hold a hearing in June to determine the extent of this problen and move quickly to ensure that taxpayers have the tools they need to comply with state tax laws.

As always, I am honored to serve as your taxpayer advocate. If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,
Michelle Steel: Taxpayer Advocate
Michelle Steel
Vice Chair
California State Board of Equalization

In The News

ENERGY: January gasoline consumption in California lowest since 2000

(Eric Wolff, North County Times)

Strengthening Taxpayer Rights at the BOE

(Fox and Hounds Daily, Op-Ed)

Valley Voice: Michelle Steel

(Desert Sun, Op-Ed)

Don't Pay a Tax You May Not Owe

(Highland Community News, Op-Ed)

Don't Pay a Tax You May Not Owe

(Dana Point Times, Op-Ed)

Legislators Should Support AB 2048, A Bipartisan Proposal for Interest Equity

(FlashReport, Op-Ed)

San Bernardino: Tax Seminar for Nonprofit Organizations Set

(The Press-Enterprise)

Before Using Use Tax Lookup Table, Check if You Owe "Use Tax"

(Imperial Valley Press)

Elected Taxpayer Advocate Calls for Lowering State's 7.25% Sales Tax

(Ken Stone, Patch.com)

Driving Like it's 1999: Californians Used Least Gas in 2011 Since 20th Century

(Eric Wolff, North County Times)


Upcoming Taxpayer Events


On May 3 , I will be hosting a free small business seminar and resource expo in Costa Mesa with Assemblyman Allan Mansoor and the City of Costa Mesa, at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center.

This free seminar is geared towards new business owners, entrepreneurs considering starting a business, and business owners that have questions about state or federal tax laws.  Presentations include Basic Sales and Use Tax, Better Business through Better Records, State Income Tax and Small Business, Employee or Independent Contractor, U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Programs and Services, Developing Business Plans, and Business Marketing.

These Free Small Business Seminars are an excellent opportunity for small-business owners, and for those thinking of starting small-businesses, to network and to interact directly with state and federal tax agencies; to learn about their rights as taxpayers, and how to navigate our complicated state and federal tax codes. 

To register go to: http://www.boe.ca.gov/cgi-bin/seminar.cgi?FLAG=162

On May 9 , I will be hosting a free small business seminar and resource expo with Assemblyman Chris Norby and the City of buena Park, at the Walter D. Ehlers Community Recreation Center.

To register go to: http://www.boe.ca.gov/cgi-bin/seminar.cgi?FLAG=160

Please check the BOE's website for more upcoming seminars: http://www.boe.ca.gov/info/VirtualSeminars/seminars_inperson.htm



Remember Black April

I join Vietnamese American communities throughout the United States in commemorating the 36th Anniversary of Fall of Saigon.

Like many Vietnamese, my mother was forced to flee invading Communist forces from the North.  She abandoned her possessions in Seoul and was forced to scavenge for food and temporary shelter during the height of the Korean War.

I grew up in a country that was divided by Communism at the conclusion of the war that tore apart a countless number of families in Korea.

It is with these experiences that I can relate to the pain and loss of the Vietnamese people.  One can only imagine the tragedy that occurred in Vietnam 36 years ago as the last United States Marine left the country.

I am deeply saddened to see so many of my fellow countrymen north of the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) struggle everyday for the basic necessities of life while living under the oppression of a Communist regime.

Therefore, with a heavy heart I, and many freedom-loving Korean Americans, stand in solidarity with the Vietnamese community to reflect upon our similar history and look forward to a future where both our homelands can truly be free and democratic.

On this solemn occasion, I join in honoring all who have given their lives in defense of freedom and in remembering the thousands more who perished at sea.



Monday, April 30, 2012

In this Issue...
In the News

Upcoming Events
An update on taxpayer education events coming up in May.

Remember Black April
Steel commemorates the fall of Saigon.

Steel speaks at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's Power Up Taxpayer Summit in Sacramento.

District Office
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Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Phone (310) 377-8016
Fax (310) 377-5731

Capital Office
450 N Street, MIC:77
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone (916) 445-5713
Fax (916) 323-0546


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Volunteers who helped provide income tax filing assistance leading up to Tax Day.

The Steel Summary

1st— Steel attends the 9th Annual Thai New Years Day Songkran Festival in Thaitown.

4th— Steel hosts Free Small Business Seminar in Encitinas with State Senator Mark Wyland, and Assemblyman Martin Garrick.

11th— Steel hosts Free Tax Seminar for Nonprofit and Faith-Based Organizations with Board Member George Runner in San Bernardino.

17th— Steel speaks to State Farm representatives during State Farm's "Day at the Capitol."

17th— Steel speaks at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's "Power Up Taxpayer Summit."

21st— Steel speaks at the KOWIN-OC "Journey Through College and Beyond" Youth Conference.

24th— Board of Equalization Meeting in Culver City.

24th— Board of Equalization 2012 Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Hearing in Culver City.

25th— Board of Equalization Meeting in Culver City.

26th— Board of Equalization Meeting in Culver City.

27th— 4th Annual Victims' Rights March and Rally led by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, in Santa Ana.

30th— Steel attends the 2012 API Policy Summit, iAdvocate Gala, honoring California's four AAPI constitutional officers.


3rd— Steel hosts Free Small Business Seminar with Assemblyman Allan Mansoor in Costa Mesa.

9th— Steel hosts Free Small Business Seminar in Buena Park with Assemblyman Chris Norby.

10th— Steel welcomes participants at Coastline Community College's Accelerate 2012 business conference in Garden Grove.

28th— Memorial Day

30th— Board of Equalization Meeting in Sacramento.

31th— Board of Equalization Meeting in Sacramento.

Taxpayer Links

Helpful Links for California Taxpayers

Board of Equalization Links

Taxpayers' Rights Advocate

Electronic Filing (E-Services)

Board of Equalization Forms

Seller's Permit Application

Verify Permit or License

Homeowner and Renter Taxpayer Assistance Appeal

California Use Tax Form

Claim for Refund Form

Franchise Tax Board Links

Franchise Tax Board Home Page

California Tax Service Center

Forms and Publications

Form 540 & Form 540A

Joel Angeles
Chief Deputy
Ken Lopez-Maddox
Senior Advisor, Legislation and Policy
Neil Shah
Deputy & Senior Advisor
Alan Nakanishi
Jobs/Economy Specialist
Keith Chatprapachai
Senior Professional Advisor
Peter Kim
Senior Assistant
Arie Dana
Communications Director
Ray Morquecho
District Representative
Tyler Diep
Senior Advisor
Rosalyn Vasquez
Tax Counsel
Tim Treichelt
Tax Counsel III


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