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As a California business owner with employees, you have several obligations, and several state agencies oversee your activities. California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) administers and audits unemployment insurance, state disability insurance, and payroll tax matters for business owners. If the EDD decides that you have not adequately paid taxes and fees related to your employment practices, it will send you a Notice of Assessment and demand that you remit payment. Receiving a Notice of Assessment can be unnerving and confusing, but remember that you have a right to appeal the EDD’s decision. 

Appealing a Notice of Assessment is an essential step in protecting your business and preserving your rights, and it should be done with the help of an EDD appeals attorney. San Francisco EDD appeals lawyer Allison Soares is an award-winning advocate for businesses facing an array of tax-related dilemmas, and she can advocate for you. 

Challenging an EDD Assessment

The EDD’s assessment against you might be based on complex math or obscure rules in the California Unemployment Insurance Code (CUIC). If you do not understand why there is an assessment against you, do not take the EDD’s word for it. Speak to a lawyer and exercise your right to appeal. And even if you understand why the EDD issued an assessment, it is still important to challenge the findings. Sometimes the EDD is wrong, and it is best to challenge its decisions before they become final.

Filing a Petition for Reassessment

You have 30 days after a Notice of Assessment to appeal the decision. You appeal by filing a petition for reassessment. Your petition is then referred to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB). The CUIAB is independent of the EDD, and one of its administrative law judges (ALJs) will hold a formal hearing to determine whether the EDD was correct about your liability. Even if an ALJ decides that you are liable for additional taxes and fees, they might conclude that you owe less than the EDD assessed. 

During your hearing, you can make arguments, present evidence, and question witnesses. It is crucial that you are strategic about the evidence and arguments you present to the ALJ while maintaining candor. You must be honest with what you present, but sharing more than you are legally obligated to share can have unnecessarily devastating results in your case. Balancing candor and strategy can be difficult, so it is in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney to handle your case. To avoid prejudicing your case, you should hire an attorney immediately after receiving a Notice of Assessment. 

Paying an Assessment While Awaiting Hearing

After you request reassessment in your case, you have to wait several weeks for a hearing. In fact, the CUIAB gives you at least 20 days’ notice regarding your hearing date. During this time (and until the CUIAB makes a decision), whatever payments the EDD demands continue to accumulate interest. To avoid interest, many employers pay their assessments while appealing. If you pay an assessment while your appeal is pending, your petition for reassessment also becomes a petition for a refund. You should speak to a lawyer about your financial situation and your best options for addressing an outstanding liability while awaiting the outcome of an appeal. 

Settling an Assessment

An appeal hearing is not the only way to confront an assessment. You can challenge the assessment by offering to pay less than the total amount. Through the Settlements Program, you can offer the EDD less than they are demanding in exchange for quick closure of your case. Settlements can save you time and money associated with an assessment amount and an appeals hearing. You will want to hire a lawyer to handle your settlement because an experienced legal professional understands what kind of offer will entice the EDD to drop the case against you at a discounted assessment rate. 

You must have an active petition for reassessment before you can use the Settlements Program. Also, you usually cannot settle your case if it involves one of the following allegations:

  • Criminal violations,
  • Fraud, or
  • Intent to evade.

Speak to San Francisco EDD appeals lawyer at Allison Soares, Attorney at Law about whether a settlement is available to you and best for your circumstances. 

Paying an Assessment in Installments

Petitioning for redetermination of your liabilities is your best option for avoiding costly and unnecessary fees, but paying an assessment in installments is another way to mitigate the financial burden. If you decide to enter into an installment agreement, please note that you can still be subject to a Notice of State Tax Lien. 

Before the EDD agrees to receive installment payments for your liability, they will need documentation from you that proves your inability to pay. You might also need to provide proposed payment schedules, financial statements, and past tax documents. Your lawyer can help you prepare for and negotiate an installment agreement that suits your needs and places you in the best standing with the EDD. 

San Francisco EDD Appeals Attorney Allison Soares Can Help

You have the right to question fines and fees the government wants to impose on you. When you question an assessment, you can save yourself money and the stress of unnecessary sanctions. However, employment tax issues are complex, and you need to be prepared to argue your case. Employment tax issues should not be handled without the help of a professional. This is why you need the experienced San Francisco EDD appeals attorney Allison Soares to advocate for you. 

Allison is an accomplished tax attorney who holds a Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of San Diego Law School. She also teaches tax procedures to others. Allison has helped hundreds of businesses save money or defeat assessments in a variety of tax situations. She also handles clients with other types of cases, including: 

She has saved clients millions of dollars by reducing or eliminating tax liabilities claimed by the government. If you need help, you can contact our firm online.


"Allison was a pleasure to work with. Smart, professional and responsive to my calls and concerns, and often took extra time to educate me about my situation and options. Most importantly though, I was happy with the results and Allison was able to get me an arrangement that I found both fair and affordable."
- Jeffrey S

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