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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

What does "FTB Suspended" mean?

Updated: Dec 31

A "Sorry We're Closed" sign on a storefront's door

What is “FTB Suspended?”

A search for businesses at the California Secretary of State’s website (https://www.sos.ca.gov) can sometimes result in a business labeled “FTB Suspended.” Such a label means that the business has been suspended by the California Franchise Tax Board.

How does a business become suspended?

A business must comply with certain requirements to maintain good standing with the State of California. For example, a business is required to file a tax return and pay its taxes, or it can be suspended by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). In California, a business entity registered with the California Secretary of State (SOS) must file and pay at least an $800 franchise or annual tax from its registration date to the current date, regardless of business activity, or it will be subject to suspension by the FTB.

The SOS may also suspend a business for not filing the required Statement of Information. It is possible for a business to be suspended by the SOS and the FTB at the same time.

What does it mean when your business is suspended?

If your business is suspended, you cannot:

  • Legally do business

  • Sell, transfer, or exchange real property

  • File taxes with an automatic extension

  • File a claim for a tax refund

  • Start or continue a protest

  • Legally close or dissolve your business

  • Bring an action or defend your business in court

  • File or maintain an appeal before the Office of Tax Appeals

  • Maintain the right to use your business name

  • Retain tax-exempt status (it will be automatically revoked as of the suspension date)

Other penalties:

Your business may be subject to a $2000 penalty per tax year for failure to file missing tax returns within 60 days after receiving a written demand to do so.

Contract Voidability:

If you enter into any contracts while you are not in good standing, the other party can void the contract. Also, unless you apply for and are granted relief from contract voidability, your business contracts will remain voidable and unenforceable.

Reviving a business:

A business suspended by the FTB can be revived by filing an Application for Revivor (FTB Form 3557 BC if the business is a corporation, or FTB Form 3557 LLC if the business is an LLC).

Generally, filing Form FTB 3557 requires:

  • Filing of all delinquent tax returns; and

  • Paying all delinquent taxes, including penalties and interest

Once the FTB is satisfied the business is again compliant, it will issue a Certificate of Revivor. When the FTB issues a Certificate of Revivor and the business is “reinstated,” the FTB informs the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State updates its website to reflect an “active “ corporate status.

Can a business owner “walk away” from a suspended business?

If your business cannot pay its taxes, the FTB may make you personally responsible if you

  • Took assets out of your business

  • Have unpaid loans to shareholders

  • Paid excessive salaries to officers

AB 2503. However, a recent amendment to California’s Corporations Code and Revenue and Taxation Code, known as AB 2503, authorizes the state to administratively dissolve a corporation or an LLC if its powers were suspended by the FTB for at least 60 continuous months (5 years). The administrative dissolution may be canceled if the LLC or corporation objects and takes all the steps necessary to revive the company. However, for those business owners who are concerned about the state somehow catching up with them and personally assessing them for their business's back taxes, the law provides some assurance that, provided they ceased doing business but had filed all required returns and paid all required taxes for the years during which they did business, the owners may avoid any personal liability.

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 and entertainment 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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