What Is the Role of the California State Board of Equalization?


Quick Answer

The California State Board of Equalization is a publicly elected tax commission in the state of California that performs tax administration and fee collection services. It is in charge of administering sales and use taxes, property taxes and special taxes, and hears franchise and income tax appeals. The BOE is the sole publicly elected tax commission in the country.

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For tax administration purposes, the BOE partitioned the state of California into four Equalization districts, with each district electing a representative to comprise the BOE board. All four elected board members serve concurrent four-year terms, and its fifth member, the State Controller, is elected statewide. The five board members appoint the Executive Director, who is in charge of the agency's nearly 4,000 employees. As of 2015, the board is composed of George Runner of the First District, Fiona Ma of the Second District, Jerome Horton of the Third District and Diane Harkey of the Fourth District. Betty Yee is the State Controller.

For fiscal year 2013-2014, the BOE collected $48.5 billion in sales and use taxes from about 2.4 million returns filed. Consumer use tax collections totaled $572.7 million. Total excise taxes were a little over $4 billion, with about half or $2.1 billion collected from insurance premiums, $837.9 million from cigarettes and tobacco products, and $354.3 million from alcoholic beverages. The BOE also collected significant amounts of fuel taxes at $6.1 billion and environmental fees at $396.8 million.

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