Relief Request – Frequently Asked Questions

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A. General Questions

Submitting a relief request online is convenient, fast, and secure.

You may login using your Username/User ID and password then select your account. Under the I want to column, select More then select Submit a Relief Request. Upon submission of your request you will receive a confirmation number. To review your submitted relief request log in with your Username/User ID and password, select your account then select the Submissions tab. Please review our Taxpayer Online Services Portal pageto log in.

No, there is no cost.

Yes, with the exception of Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to Monday at 5:00 a.m., Pacific Time, when our system is down for weekly routine maintenance.

You may submit a relief request if you received a billing notice or statement of account from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). If you recently submitted your return and/or payment, allow five business days for CDTFA to process your electronic return and/or payment submissions or up to six weeks if mailed, prior to submitting your relief request. Your filing and payment must be posted to your account in order for your request to be considered.

Yes, CDTFA uses the latest technology to ensure the safety and security of taxpayer information.

Yes, to ensure proper functionality, you must allow pop-ups.

Online help is available while you are completing your request. You may contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

Yes, you will receive a confirmation number immediately upon submitting your request. You can print this page for your records. If you want to return to the confirmation page after leaving the system you will need to login using your User ID. For more information about obtaining a User ID, please see our Taxpayer Online Services Portal page.

No original signature is necessary. Filling out the "Declaration of Intent to Submit an Online Relief Request" is sufficient.

Once submitted, your request may be processed immediately. Some requests may require further review or approval and are generally processed within 30 days. However, if approval by the Deputy Director of Business Tax and Fee Division is required, the process may take 90 to 120 days to complete.

Yes, however you must obtain a Username/User ID to check the status of your request online. For more information about obtaining a Username/User ID, please see our Taxpayer Online Services Portal page. If you need additional help you may contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time, excluding state holidays.

Generally, the tax or fee must be paid in full and, if applicable, your return for the period you are requesting relief must have been filed before you request relief.

Generally, you should receive a refund within 8 to 12 weeks; however, if you have other liabilities, your refund may be applied to these liabilities first.

You should have received a list of possible reasons why CDTFA was unable to process your request. Once those issues are resolved, you may submit a new request. For example, if the CDTFA was unable to process your request for relief from penalty because the tax or fee was not paid in full.

Declarations of Timely Mailing and Extensions of Time to File a Return that have been denied can be resubmitted online if you have new or additional information for CDTFA to consider. For all other relief requests that are denied you must submit a written Request for Reconsideration within 15 days from the date your request was denied. You may mail this request (i.e. letter) to the CDTFA representative that sent you the denial letter. Your request must provide additional information and an explanation of why you disagree with CDTFA's decision to deny your relief request.

B. Relief from Penalty

CDTFA assesses multiple types of penalties. Generally, penalties are assessed because a return and/or payment were not made on or before the due date. For more information on penalties, please see publication 75, Interest, Penalties, and Fee.

Refer to your Statement of Account or billing notice for an explanation or you may contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time, excluding state holidays.

C. Relief from the Collection Cost Recovery Fee

CDTFA assesses this fee on each liability greater than $250 that remains unpaid 90 days following the issuance of a demand notice. See table below.

Liability Amount Fee Amount Effective January 1, 2013
$250.01 – $2,000.00 $190
$2,000.01 – $50,000.00 $570
$50,000.01 and greater $950

Generally, tax/fee, interest, and/or penalty must be paid in full to process your request. If you are also requesting relief of interest and/or penalty, your request for relief of the collection cost recovery fee will be reviewed after those other relief requests have been processed.

You may be eligible to submit a request for relief if the effective date of your payment arrangement is prior to the assessment date of the Collection Cost Recovery Fee. You should contact your Tax Representative who assisted you in setting up your payment arrangement for assistance.

D. Relief from Interest

If your payment was late, you will owe interest. Interest is calculated on a monthly basis, even if a payment is only one day late. However, if an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payment was made one day late you may only have to pay one day of interest. For more information regarding EFT payments made one day late, please see our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and follow the instructions on form, CDTFA-734, Request for Oral Hearing Electronic Payments – One Day Late.

There are very limited provisions that authorize CDTFA to relieve interest. You may submit a relief request only if any of the following reasons apply:

  1. An unreasonable error or delay occurred by a CDTFA employee caused your payment to be late , or
  2. An error occurred by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in calculating the amount of use tax due on your DMV registered vehicle or vessel occurred.
  3. A disaster occurred and caused a delay in filing a return or making a payment by the due date.

Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Section 6592.5, interest on late prepayments is due when relief of penalty has been granted.

E. Relief from Penalty and Interest Due to a Disaster

Disaster means fire, flood, storm, tidal wave, earthquake or similar public calamity, whether or not resulting from natural causes.

For more information, please see our State of Emergency Tax Relief guide.

Yes. In order to process your request, your return or prepayment form must be filed and the tax or fee portion due on the return, prepayment or billing must paid in full.

F. Extensions of Time to File a Tax Return

Yes. You must file your extension request within one month of the due date.

CDTFA is required by law to charge interest on any late payment.

G. Declaration of Timely Mailing

No, only the person who mailed the return and/or payment can submit the Declaration of Timely Mailing.

No, online requests may only be submitted for mailed returns and/or payments. To submit a declaration for a timely payment made via EFT, click on the following link and follow the instructions on the form CDTFA-129-EFT, EFT Transmission Declaration.

Proof of mailing may not be required to process your request, however, please keep the original documents for your records, and be prepared to submit them, if requested.