It may surprise you to learn that Franchise Tax Board is more like a ‘WHO’ rather than a ‘WHAT.’  The Board is comprised of three individuals, two of whom taxpayers in California have a voice in electing.

The current Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is chaired by California’s State Controller, John Chiang.  The other two members of FTB are Jerome E. Horton, Chairman of Board of Equalization, and Michael Cohen, Director of Finance.

Chairman Chiang was elected as State Controller in 2006.  He is a graduate of the University of South Florida, with a degree in finance.  He later received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.  Chairman Chiang brings a vast array of experience to the table, having worked for the Internal Revenue Service, Board of Equalization, and currently State Controller and Chairman of FTB.

Jerome Horton currently serves as Chairman of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE.) His appointment to BOE in 2009 marked the first time an African American would serve on the Board. Mr. Horton brings with him over two decades of experience with BOE. His proactive work on projects like the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights earned him the nickname The Equalizer. Chairman Horton received the 2013 Award for Excellence by a Government Official presented by the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Michael Cohen was appointed as Director of the California Department of Finance in September 2013.  He earned a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School  at the University of Texas; he has a bachhelor’s degree in Urban Science from Stanford University.  Together with Chairman John Chiang and Jerome Horton, we have Franchise Tax Board.

Franchise Tax Board is best known for administering California’s tax programs – both personal and corporate.  What most people don’t know is FTB is also responsible for nontax programs and delinquent debt collection functions – including collecting: 1/delinquent vehicle registration on behalf of the DMV, 2/ court-ordered debt for participating courts and agencies and 3/delinquent debt for other government agencies and California colleges.

FTB strives to close the ‘tax-gap’ by bringing individuals and businesses into compliance with tax law.  Their Voluntary Disclosure Program  allows, “… qualified entities, qualified shareholders, or beneficiaries that may have incurred an unpaid California tax … to disclose their liability voluntarily.”  FTB is also authorized to disallow certain housing tax deductions taken on a tax return when that housing is determined “substandard” by city or county regulatory agencies, which aids the best interest of the general public.

So the next time you find yourself in a discussion about Franchise Tax Board, remember you are speaking of a “WHO” not a “WHAT”, and that three highly qualified individuals are there to work for you.

7/31/2013 5:35 PM