California lawmakers are working on legislation that would eliminate potential conflict of interest for the Board of Equalization or BOE tax board. California has the only elected tax board in the country, and there are concerns regarding contributors to board members campaigns and decisions by the board on tax related matters. The previous law, written in 1990, forbade board members from ruling on decisions associated with donors of $250 or more. The Board chairman’s re-election committee reported the receipt of $249 from many employees, attorneys and executives of a prominent tax consultation firm totaling more than $11,000 in the most recent election. The board vice-chairman received 25 donations of $249 from the same firm.
The new proposal would limit any member of the BOE tax board from acting on any matter that involved any contributor to their political campaigns, even if the contribution was $1 or less. The State Senator who is authoring the new bill noted “It just seemed that is a loophole that needs to be closed. It eliminates the perception that there could be a conflict that would affect a decision. There should be no question that the decision is based on its value.”
The BOE tax board has semi-judicial powers to rule on tax matters between the Board of Equalization and California tax payers. We all want a level playing field where decisions are not questioned based upon political contributions or in matters where a conflict of interest exists. If you have tax audit or collection issues with the Board of Equalization, the BOE tax board or any California tax agency, we invite you to contact us for a free and substantive consultation at 866-631-3470.