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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

How to make the California Franchise Tax Board an offer-in-compromise to settle a tax debt

Updated: Dec 31

An offer-in-compromise form
The California Franchise Tax Board accepts OIC's

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is a state agency that collects taxes for the state of California. If you owe back taxes to the FTB, you might be able to negotiate an offer-in-compromise (OIC). An OIC is an agreement between the taxpayer and the FTB to settle the tax debt for less than what is owed.


There are a few requirements that must be met in order for the FTB to consider an OIC. You must have:

  1. Explored payment options such as setting up a payment plan* with the FTB

  2. Filed all required income tax returns

  3. Agreed with the amount you owe

*Payment Plan. The FTB will consider payment plans. For a business, it may take up to 60 days to process your request, and you will have 12 months to pay off your balance. For individuals, it may take up to 90 days to process your request, and you will typically have up to 3-5 years to pay off your balance.


Your eligibility will depend on:

  1. Your ability to pay

  2. Value of your assets

  3. Your current and future income

  4. Your current and future expenses

  5. The potential your circumstances could change

  6. Whether your offer is in the best interest of the state


Your offer:

  • Must be a lump sum (no payments)

  • Cannot include prior payments

  • Cannot be a zero-dollar offer


Next, you would mail in the Application with all the required documentation to the Franchise Tax Board Offer in Compromise Group.

Generally, upon receipt of your OIC, you should receive an acknowledgment letter within 2 to 4 weeks. Once your account is assigned, the OIC Group will contact you and explore options with you like whether you could make monthly payments, or whether a collateral agreement will be required. Typically, the FTB will make a decision within 4 to 6 months of your account being assigned. Note that when you apply for an OIC, collection actions will not automatically stop. However, no new collection actions will be taken while your offer is being reviewed. Penalties and interest will continue to accrue as prescribed by law.

Approval. If your offer is approved, all collection actions will stop, and state tax liens will be released.


The Offer in Compromise program can be a great way to reduce your tax liability, but it is important to do your research and understand the process before you get started. An attorney familiar with OIC applications can help.

Spiller Law is an advisor to startup businesses, entertainment and media companies, and artists. Feel free to schedule a free consultation.


Spiller Law is a San Francisco business, entertainment, and estate planning law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.


The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.

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