27,000 Firms Late on Tax Returns

Nearly 27,000 California corporations failed to file 1997 state income tax returns, about the same number as in 1996, the state controller said Tuesday.

The 1997 deadbeat list included 2,682 Orange County companies and more than 8,300 Los Angeles County businesses. The corporations will get a letter this month telling them they may owe back taxes and giving them 30 days to respond, state Controller Kathleen Connell said.

The state rounded up about $300 million in overdue income taxes last year after sending out similar correspondence, Franchise Tax Board officials said.

The tax board compiles the list by matching its filings with information received from the Internal Revenue Service and other state taxing agencies.

Businesses that ignore the letter face tax assessments, interest charges and penalties totaling 50% of their tax liabilities, Connell said.

Corporations doing business in the state or receiving income from California sources must file state tax returns.

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