The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has long been required to send notices to a Taxpayer’s last known address. However, California state law has never specifically provided the address to which notices are sent, although according to the legislative history the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has as a matter of internal practice generally followed the IRS rules. New legislation which is effective on Jan. 1, 2008, now requires that the FTB send notices to a taxpayer’s last know address. Much like federal law the new state law defines “last know address” as the address that appears on the taxpayer’s last return filed with the FTB, unless the taxpayer has provided to the Franchise Tax Board clear and concise written or electronic notification of a different address, or the Franchise Tax Board has an address it has reason to believe is the most current address for the taxpayer. Revenue and Taxation Code 18416(c).
TIP. If you move after you have filed your federal or state income tax returns it’s a good idea to notify both the IRS, and Franchise Tax Board, just in case they want to contact you. Who knows, sometimes they actually need your address to send you good news.
If you are undergoing a tax audit, and you move it would be foolhardy not to notify them. Why? This is one time when out of sight, out of mind it is not a good rule to rely on. If the IRS or the FTB sends a notice to your last know address, and you don’t get it because you have moved you are still responsible for responding in a timely fashion. If you don’t you could be subject to penalties, or lose various rights of appeal. In my practice I consistently meet with new clients who have lost their rights because they didn’t receive IRS and FTB notices because they moved, and didn’t notify the taxing agencies. On the other hand, Brager Tax Law Group has had great success helping clients who didn’t receive notices because the IRS failed to follow its own procedures in determining their last known address.