Penalty Cancellation Request Process

The California Revenue and Taxation Code (R&TC) grants the Treasurer and Tax Collector the authority to cancel penalties in limited circumstances. Below are examples of requests that the Tax Collector will deny if submitted for penalty cancellation review.
 

1. Requests that the Tax Collector consider the taxpayer's payment history.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on a taxpayer's request to consider the taxpayer's positive payment history. The R&TC does not grant the Tax Collector the authority to consider a taxpayer's payment history, whether positive or negative, in determining whether or not to cancel a penalty.
 

2. Requests related to home banking or online bill payments.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty related to a home banking or online bill payment that a taxpayer initiated prior to the delinquency date, which the Tax Collector received after the delinquency date. The reason for this is that the United States Postal Service does not postmark the envelopes used to remit payments from home banking and online bill payment services. In the absence of a postmark, the Tax Collector only considers the received date in determining if the payment is late and if the penalty applies. The Tax Collector recommends to taxpayers that they not use this service for the reason stated above.  Finally, some banks provide a disclosure on their online bill pay websites urging users not to use the service when making federal, state or local tax payments of any kind.
 

3. Requests related to use of a postage meter date on a payment envelope.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on the payment envelope containing a postage meter date that is the delinquency date or a date prior to the delinquency date. The R&TC states that the remittance (payment) will be deemed received on the date shown by the United States Postal Service (USPS) cancellation mark stamped on the envelope. A postage meter is a mailing system, distinct from the mailing systems of the USPS, typically used by private businesses that prints postage directly on the envelope. A postage meter date is not a cancellation postmark the USPS stamps on an envelope. A postage meter date only indicates that the proper postage was paid; it is not evidence when someone deposits an item for mailing with the USPS.
 

4. Requests related to a taxpayer assertion that the taxpayer mailed the payment prior to the delinquency date with sufficient time for the United States Postal Service to deliver the payment prior to the delinquency date.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on an assertion that the taxpayer mailed the payment “early enough” to allow the United States Postal Service sufficient time to deliver the payment prior to the delinquency date. The reason for this is that the R&TC states that the remittance will be deemed received on the date shown by the post office cancellation mark stamped on the envelope.
 

5. Requests related to the financial circumstances of the taxpayer, which prevented the taxpayer from paying the amount due prior to the delinquency date.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on the financial circumstances of a taxpayer, which prevented the taxpayer from paying the amount due prior to the delinquency date. Under the R&TC, there is no provision to cancel penalties due to financial circumstances that prevented a timely payment.
 

6. Requests related to the non-receipt of property tax bill.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on non-receipt of a property tax bill. Under the R&TC, there is no provision to cancel penalties imposed for failure to receive a tax bill.
 

7. Requests related to new home ownership and not understanding the property tax process.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on a taxpayer not understanding the property tax process. The reason for this is that most real estate transactions occur through an escrow process where property tax information is provided.
 

8. Requests related to taxpayer errors submitting a payment through our online payment system.
The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on the taxpayer submitting incorrect information while submitting an online payment through the Treasurer and Tax Collector’s online payment system. The reason for this is that taxpayers agree to Terms of Use and Terms of Payment that place the responsibility with the taxpayer to enter correct account information. Examples of taxpayer online payment errors include, but are not limited to, taxpayer input of an incorrect account or routing number in an eCommerce transaction or failure to accurately validate credit/debit card information.

Having read the information provided above, I believe that my request for penalty cancellation does not fall into any of the scenarios above and will qualify under one of the Revenue & Taxation Codes listed below.  

R&TC, Section 2512- Proof the United States Postal Service took custody of the payment on or before the delinquency date. 

R&TC, Section 4911- Payment was made to an incorrect property by mistake. 

R&TC, Section 4985-
An error expressly made by the tax collector, the auditor, or the assessor. 

R&TC, Section 4985.2- Circumstances beyond the taxpayer's control, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care in the absence of willful neglect. Examples that may qualify:
- Specific medical conditions causing unexpected hospitalization on the delinquency date.
- Natural Disasters. (e.g. Wildfires)                                                                                                 - Lost in the mail.  Please include copy of check register showing when check was written, bank statements showing checks clearing before and after suspect check and a stop payment placed on check. 
- Death of the Property Owner of Record on or before the delinquency date.
- Government Declared State of Emergency.

Instructions for Completing the Penalty Cancellation Request Form:
Step 1: Select the California Revenue & Taxation Code Section that you believe allows the Tax Collector to cancel the penalties imposed.
Step 2: Complete the form.  Must include Assessment # and contact information.  Add a brief description of the nature of your request for penalty cancellation.
Step 3: Read and consent to the acknowledgement that the documents you submit constitute a public record under the Californai Public Records Act.  After submitting the Penalty Cancellation Request, you will receive an email confirmation.  If supporting documentation is required, you will receive an email from the Tax Collector's office with instructions on what is needed to substatiate your request.  
 
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