yellow pages news jobs events calendar movie times RSS News Feeds
Rocklin and Roseville Today Breezin'
   |   Current Temp: 64.0 F (17.8 C)
 

If the Government Takes Your Money Illegally, Shouldn't You Get it Back?


SHARE with Friend




Did you know, if the State of California takes your money in the form of an illegal tax or fee, you might not be able to get it back?

I was outraged when I first learned if a taxpayer pays a tax or fee that is later found to be unconstitutional or illegal in court, the government does not necessarily have to refund their money.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all of their "administrative appeals remedies," even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or unconstitutional.

In order for taxpayers to exhaust their "administrative appeals remedies" they must file a timely refund claim with the proper agency. The time period to file a refund claim is different for each tax and fee program, ranging anywhere from 30 days to several years.

That's right; your state government will keep any and all money it illegally took from you, unless you have already jumped through several confusing administrative hoops - even hoops that you were never aware of.

That's why this legislative session, I am proud to sponsor legislation to change this situation by extending important, common sense protections to taxpayers. Two identical measures, AB 2510 (Wagner) and SB 1327 (Knight), would require the state to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared unconstitutional or illegal.

These bills would require the state to automatically issue refunds to taxpayers who were illegally taxed. It would also open up an additional appeals period of one year after a state tax is declared unconstitutional, giving taxpayers a chance to apply for the refunds they deserve. 

Our legislation would apply to state taxes and fees paid by both businesses and individuals, and would affect people all across California. 

For example, these bills would apply to the controversial Fire Prevention Fee, paid by nearly 800,000 rural homeowners every year. Even if the class action lawsuit currently challenging the fire fee is successful, only taxpayers who filed appeals within 30 days of the date on their bills would be eligible for refunds. Under SB 1327 and AB 2510, every fire fee payer would receive a refund.

Businesses and large taxpayers would also benefit from these bills becoming law. For example, a number of years ago the Board of Equalization (BOE) overstated the property values of a number of power plants. One of the plants, Elk Hills Power, sued the BOE and eventually won, resulting in a partial refund of the taxes it paid. However, several other plants were deemed ineligible to receive a refund because they did not protest the original assessment.

In my opinion, this is just wrong.   

According to SB 1327 author Senator Steve Knight: "When government makes a mistake, they need to do the right thing. This bill would return illegally collected taxes to the taxpayers... it's just common sense."

Assemblyman Donald Wagner, author of AB 2510, adds: "When California taxpayers have been illegally forced to pay a tax, it should not be their responsibility to fill out paperwork that they may or may not know exists, in order to recoup this money. The State needs to reimburse the taxpayers as quickly and painlessly as possible - it is not our money."

It is criminal that the State of California can keep money it illegally collects from its citizens. Anyone who in good faith pays what ends up being an illegal tax should get their money back. It's as simple as that.


George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit http://boe.ca.gov/Runner.






more news Print This Article


Placer County News Headlines

Placer County Republican Party To Hold 2014 ConventionLOOMIS - The Placer County Republican Party will hold its endorsement convention on Aug. 23 to select which candidates to support for local offices in Placer County.

Job Fair in Roseville August 22ndRoseville, CA -- Multiple community agencies including Brandman University, The City of Roseville Libraries, Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado Counties, Golden Sierra Job Training, and Sacramento Works

Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.23.14)The Roseville Police Department weekly crime report digest update for July 23, 2014.

California Limits Full Contact Football for StudentsGovernor Jerry Brown signed into law AB2127 which limits, but does not eliminate full contact football practices for middle and high school students.

Beware of Deceptive Home Improvement OffersThe California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging consumers to be aware of home improvement offers by individuals who use unethical business practices to gain entry into their homes

Continuous Improvement Network: August 6th & 20thSierra College CACT provides Value Stream Mapping Training in Sacramento on August 6 & 20 for the Continuous Improvement Network

Alternative Transportation Programs in Placer CountyPlacer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) is your resource for information about alternative transportation services in Placer County.

Auburn Woman Attacked Inside HomePlacer County sheriff's detectives are looking for a man who attacked a woman at her north Auburn home early this morning.

Western Nationals Softball Tournament in Roseville and LincolnASA Softball is bringing the Western Nationals for the Girls B 10U & 12U divisions to the Placer Valley Area. The event is six days long, taking place from July 28-August 3.

Tahoe Public Projects Garner AttentionTahoe Transportation District has been recognized nationally and by the state of Nevada for its positive impacts, collaborative initiatives, environmental enhancement, and service to the community's

Rocklin National Night Out Events August 5thEach community member is invited to join their neighborhood watch group and the Rocklin Police Department for National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.

Recovery Plan for California Salmon and SteelheadNOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California's Central Valley




more news