Why Call the California State Tax Levy Phone Number?

Andrea Miller
Expert Contributor
Last Updated:
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  • A California state tax levy allows the state to seize your funds or assets to repay back taxes.
  • You must act quickly to protect your property if you receive a levy notice from the Franchise Tax Board.
  • Entering a payment arrangement, paying in full, and successfully seeking hardship status will result in levy release.

California taxpayers can take advantage of several ways to get in touch with the state Franchise Tax Board, including a direct call to the California state tax levy phone number: 800-689-4776. This is especially important if you have unpaid state back taxes and have been issued a levy, which means that your property can be seized if you do not make arrangements to pay your balance.

What Is a State Tax Levy?

If you do not pay your state taxes, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) can levy your personal property. A levy is sometimes called an Order to Withhold. This means that the state will take funds from your bank accounts, garnish your paychecks, and take ownership of real estate and other property to satisfy your back taxes. If you receive notice of a California tax levy, you must take action immediately to protect your property and assets.

The legal authority to seize property to repay an outstanding state tax balance is granted by California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 18817 and 18670. Your state tax levy form will include a phone number you can call to speak with an FTB representative.

What Happens With a Bank Account Levy?

When your bank account is levied, the bank places a 10-day hold on your funds. After this waiting period, the money is transferred to the FTB. You may be able to get an extension beyond 10 days if you are actively working with an FTB representative to resolve your back taxes.

If you think that your bank account was levied as the result of an error, call the phone number listed on your levy notice right away. You’ll need to provide the fax number for your bank. The FTB will delay the levy until the issue is resolved. If the error is confirmed, you can write to the FTB within 90 days to request reimbursement for fees and charges that occurred as a result of the levy.

Why Call the California State Tax Levy Phone Number?

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It is very difficult to remove a bank levy, but you can request that the FTB do so if you can prove that the levy has caused financial hardship, or that the levied funds belonged to another person or are otherwise exempt from levy.

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To prove financial hardship, you must provide information to the FTB about your income, assets, debts, and monthly expenses. If you are elderly, you may receive special consideration from the state. Even if the FTB releases your levy for reason of hardship, collections will begin again after 12 months unless your financial situation remains unchanged.

If the funds that were levied belonged to someone else, you must provide proof that a family member made a deposit into your bank or that you were holding funds for someone else. Your levy will not be released unless you can provide documentation, not just an explanation.

Some funds are exempt from levy and can be released if you or an attorney acting on your behalf contacts the FTB. This category typically includes veteran benefits, Social Security income, and public assistance.

What Should I Do If I Receive a Levy Notice?

Once you make arrangements to repay your back taxes, the levy will be lifted. If you cannot afford to repay your debt, however, you do have other options. These include:

  • Entering a payment plan to satisfy your back taxes, usually in monthly installments
  • Making an offer in compromise (OIC), which is a request to the state to settle your balance for less than the full amount you owe
  • Establishing hardship status, which will postpone collection actions on your account for up to one year
  • Filing for bankruptcy, which will prevent further collections of your state back taxes. If you have filed for bankruptcy and receive a levy notice from the FTB, call 916-845-4750. Representatives at this phone number can provide more information and assistance.

How Can I Contact the California Franchise Tax Board?

Taxpayers who want help from the FTB have several options:

  • The online live chat feature provides help with the Franchise Tax Board website as well as answers to general state income tax questions. You can also chat with a representative about your account using the secure chat feature, but you must log in to your MyFTB account to make this function available.
  • Automated phone service is available 24/7 at no charge. Calling the phone number 800-338-0505 will put you in touch with help in both English and Spanish as long as you are using a touch-tone telephone. You’ll be able to access pre-recorded answers to common questions, order income tax forms for the current tax year and two prior tax years, check the status of your income tax refund for the current year, check your balance due, and get information about your recent payments.
  • You can speak to an FTB representative over the phone by calling the Taxpayer Services Center phone number, which is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call toll-free from within the U.S. at 800-852-5711 or 916-845-6500 from outside the U.S. California Relay Service is available by calling 711 or 800-735-2929. You can access device-to-device TTY by calling 800-822-6268.
  • If you want to get a written reply from the FTB or you are responding to a tax notice that you received, you can mail a letter to Franchise Tax Board, PO Box 942840, Sacramento, CA 94240-0040. The letter that you send should include your day and evening phone numbers, a copy of the notice you are responding to (if applicable), and your Social Security number. Keep in mind that it may take up to six weeks to receive a reply to this type of correspondence. An FTB representative may call you for more information before sending an official response.

If you need help resolving issues with federal or state back taxes, contact Solvable today. We pair our clients with vetted back tax assistance agencies who help taxpayers like you every day. Get on the road to a debt-free future.

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Andrea Miller
Expert Contributor
Last Updated: