What Happens if You Don’t Pay California Franchise Tax?

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) requires all businesses operating in the state to pay franchise tax. This tax is levied on both C-corporations and LLCs (limited liability companies). Failure to pay this tax can result in serious consequences for a business. Let’s explore what happens if you don’t pay California franchise tax.

1. Penalties and Interest: The FTB imposes penalties and interest on unpaid franchise tax. The penalties range from 5% to 25% of the unpaid amount. Additionally, interest accrues on the unpaid tax at a rate of 0.5% per month until the tax is paid in full.

2. Loss of Good Standing: If a business fails to pay franchise tax, it may lose its good standing with the state. This can have severe implications, such as the inability to enter into contracts, obtain loans, or renew licenses. It can also lead to the suspension or forfeiture of the business entity.

3. Collection Actions: The FTB has the authority to take collection actions against businesses that don’t pay franchise tax. They can issue levies on the business’s bank accounts, garnish wages, seize assets, and file liens against the business’s property.

4. Legal Action: If a business continues to neglect paying franchise tax, the FTB can take legal action. This may involve obtaining a judgment against the business, which allows them to pursue additional collection efforts and potentially seek court-ordered remedies.

5. Personal Liability: In some cases, the owners or members of a business may become personally liable for unpaid franchise tax. This is especially true for LLCs, where the members can be held personally responsible for the tax liabilities of the business.

See also  How to Defer Taxes on Capital Gains

6. Audits and Investigations: Non-payment of franchise tax can trigger audits and investigations by the FTB. This can lead to further penalties, interest, and potentially criminal charges if tax evasion is suspected.

7. Difficulty in Dissolving a Business: If a business wishes to dissolve or wind up its operations, it must be in good standing with the state. Failure to pay franchise tax can complicate the dissolution process and lead to delays or additional penalties.

8. Damage to Business Reputation: A business that fails to pay its required taxes can suffer damage to its reputation and credibility. This can make it challenging to attract investors, partners, or customers, thus hindering growth and success.


1. Can I negotiate with the FTB regarding unpaid franchise tax?
The FTB may consider payment plans or settlements, but it’s essential to contact them promptly to discuss your situation.

2. What happens if I can’t afford to pay the franchise tax?
It’s crucial to communicate with the FTB and explore options such as installment agreements or requesting waivers based on financial hardship.

3. Can I dissolve my business to avoid paying franchise tax?
Dissolving a business doesn’t absolve it from paying any outstanding tax liabilities. The FTB will still pursue collection efforts.

4. Will the FTB seize my personal assets for unpaid franchise tax?
While the FTB can pursue personal liability, they typically focus on business assets first. However, personal assets may be at risk if the business assets are insufficient.

5. Can I face criminal charges for not paying franchise tax?
If the FTB suspects tax evasion or fraudulent activities, criminal charges may be filed. This emphasizes the importance of fulfilling tax obligations.

See also  Economists From Which Administrative Department Help Design Tax Policy?

6. Can I reinstate my business after it has been suspended for unpaid franchise tax?
Yes, you can reinstate your business by paying all outstanding taxes, penalties, and interest, along with filing the required documents with the FTB.

7. How long does the FTB have to collect unpaid franchise tax?
The FTB generally has up to 20 years to collect unpaid franchise tax, including penalties and interest.

8. Can I seek professional help to resolve my unpaid franchise tax issues?
It is highly recommended to consult with a tax professional or an attorney experienced in California franchise tax matters to navigate the complex process and find the best resolution for your situation.

Leave a Reply