Watch out! The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is warning Californians about tax-related phone scams.
The BOE has received multiple reports from taxpayers that received phone calls from someone impersonating a local police officer who demanded immediate payment for a tax liability and threatened arrest. The callers spoof police department or BOE telephone numbers on caller ID, creating the appearance that a legitimate party is calling.
This is not how the BOE operates, and taxpayers should never give any personal information or make a payment to anybody making such a call. You will receive a bill (a notice of determination or demand for immediate payment), which means you have a tax or fee amount due by the date indicated. If you cannot pay the full amount by the due date, contact the BOE to find out about payment plan options.
“Fortunately, those who attempt to deceive others will eventually be caught and prosecuted,” said Chairman Jerome E. Horton. “I am grateful that several of our permit holders alerted us to this terrible fraud.”
“We take any and all efforts to defraud California taxpayers seriously and have launched an investigation into the complaints we’ve received so far,” said Vice Chair George Runner. “If you’ve been contacted by someone who may be falsely claiming to represent a tax agency, please let us know immediately.”
“Tax season is complicated enough without scammers preying on Californians. State and federal tax agencies will send a notification in writing—not by phone, so don’t fall victim to these predators,” said Board Member Fiona Ma. “My office is here to help, and if you receive a suspicious phone call, contact us immediately so we can get to the bottom of this and help you avoid being scammed.”
“If anyone receives a call or is unsure of a possible scam, my staff and I are here to provide immediate assistance. Once the money is gone it becomes harder to track down these criminals who often operate outside of the United States,” said Board Member Diane L. Harkey, who represents the Fourth Equalization District.
If you believe you have received such a call, please contact the BOE Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (except state holidays).
With the April 15th due date for income tax returns approaching, tax-related phone scams are quite common. In some of these instances, con artists demand payment through a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. Be careful about providing any personal information without verifying the person requesting the information is legitimate.
The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit www.taxes.ca.gov .
- Board of Equalization