BOE Opinions No Longer on Website - Spidell

BOE Opinions No Longer on Website

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Message Board BOE Opinions No Longer on Website

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    • #188022
      David Fogel
      Participant

      The BOE used to list its opinions on its website here:  http://www.boe.ca.gov/legal/legalopcont.htm

      I’m referring to opinions that were in the format XX-SBE-XXX.pdf or XXXX-SBE-XXX.pdf.  But they’re not listed there anymore.  Instead, on the Office of Tax Appeals’ website, OTA says this:

      Prior Formal Opinions of the Board of Equalization
      OTA is the successor in interest to the State Board of Equalization (BOE). Prior decisions of the BOE may be cited in cases before OTA in support of a party’s argument. For a copy of any former BOE opinion, please email info@ota.ca.gov and include the name of the case and the year the opinion was issued.

      I have sent emails to the address shown above and to ptaxinq@boe.ca.gov requesting former BOE opinions, but my emails are being ignored.  Does anyone know why the BOE removed these opinions from their website and is there another source to obtain electronic copies of these opinions?

    • #188026
      Sandy Weiner
      Participant

      David,

      We reported on this in our August 2019 California taxletter (see below). It’s a combination of the mandate to make the state agency websites “accessible” and the transfer of the appeals function to the OTA. We have all the old BOE cases available on our online research program:

      FTB launches new website
      Among other things, old income, franchise, and sales tax cases are gone.
      Thursday, August 01, 2019

      By: Kathryn Zdan, EA, and Lynn Freer, EA

      The FTB, CDTFA, BOE, and EDD websites have been updated with new versions. The updates were a result of a 2017 bill.1

      Under AB 434, all California state agency websites must be in compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, which defines how to make online content more accessible to people with disabilities. For example, one of the requirements is that all nontext content presented to the user must have a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.

      This means that much old content is no longer available on the websites. Tax professionals and taxpayers alike must contact the state agencies to get copies of old documents that could not easily be converted.

      For example, there were documents on their websites that caused problems for disabled users, like old scanned PDFs that were images which cannot be read by a screen reader.

      BOE cases
      Maybe the biggest result is the fact that all Board of Equalization cases decided prior to January 1, 2018, are no longer available online. This would include cases involving income, franchise, and sales, use, and other taxes and fees previously administered by the BOE.

      Although you can request a copy of a Board of Equalization opinion, you must know the name of the case. Contact the BOE directly for a copy of a tax appeal document.

      The break-up of the Board of Equalization in July of 2017 is largely to blame. Prior to 2018, the BOE handled all the income and franchise cases, as well as sales and use tax and property tax cases.

      With the appeals portion of the BOE being transferred to a new agency, the Office of Tax Appeals (OTA), responsibility for those cases is in limbo. Although the BOE decided the cases in its former life, the new OTA is responsible for 2018 and later decisions. The FTB has never had responsibility for these cases. There has been no clear guidance as to who is now responsible for posting prior-year decisions.

      And with the added workload and expense, these cases are without a home.

      Spidell has these cases on our website!
      Subscribers to Spidell’s Online Research package may access content, including these decisions and opinions.

      For more information or to order, go to http://www.caltax.com under the Publications tab.

    • #188162
      David Fogel
      Participant

      Hi Sandy,

      I understand that AB 434 requires state agencies to certify that their websites are compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, or a subsequent version, which means that text must be displayed so that it can be re-sized to large print, such as if a user views the content in a browser at 200%.  And I agree that HTML content is the way to do this.

      But what the IRS has done on its website is to provide its form instructions and publications in BOTH PDF and HTML formats.  Why can’t the BOE and FTB follow the same procedure?  Why do they have to eliminate all PDF versions of the documents from their websites?  It doesn’t make sense, and it’s not responsive to the users of the websites.

      I would have thought that Spidell, as part of its efforts to make the California tax agencies more responsive to the tax professional community, would have taken steps to convince BOE and FTB to provide both formats of these documents on their websites and not to eliminate content that a lot of tax professionals rely upon.  But maybe I’m wrong.  Since it seems that the only way to gain access to the prior BOE opinions is to subscribe to Spidell’s Online Research package, maybe Spidell is only interested in selling more subscriptions.

    • #188383
      Lynn Freer
      Participant

      The have discussed this with them. The FTB will eventually have many of it’s content in both formats. The problem with the cases is that with the transference of the appeals from the BOE to the OTA, BOE no longer feels it’s their responsibility to include the content and OTA says they are not their cases. FTB has never had control of them and CDTFA is no longer responsible.

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