Asked in Tax Law for California

Q: Can I civil litigate for damages the FTB caused for a faulty levy that took place AFTER residency was proven?

I lived in Japan for 3 years FTB claimed I was in CA. After years of not receiving collection status notices (I still live in Japan), a family member finally received one and informed me.

I was NEVER provided proof of CA residency by FTB and the onus was on them to do so. From their exhaustive credit search, they also already knew I was not a resident those years, as I had no rental, phone, utility, bank statements and no property or business there. I contacted them anyway and proceeded to send them requested IRS 1040's proving I was out of state those years, which they confirmed receiving, to which they levied my single American-based account ANYWAY (an IRA account).

This caused great damage to me and my family. Now FTB wants to cut me a refund check for the amount they stole, which I will never be able to cash, as I have no U.S. bank account. The state controller is unwilling to e-transfer the refund, the same way they stole it.

Is there a case? How strong?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Paul Martin Vargas
Paul Martin Vargas
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Hermosa Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Hi. Yes, you would have a cause of action in civil court against the FTB for unauthorized collection action. There are some details that are not in your question that would need to be assessed to determine the strength of your case. The fact they are willing to refund you the amount retained shows culpability on their part. It may be best to accept the refund (if procedurally possible) and move on; but, again, you may have more damages as a result of their unauthorized collection that a civil suit may be merited.

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