OAKLAND -- This month, the Board of Equalization's Statewide Compliance and Outreach Program teams contacted businesses in the 95403 ZIP code area, which includes north Santa Rosa, the Wikiup-Larkfield-Mark West area and the Charles M. Schulz--Sonoma County Airport industrial parks, about a planned door-to-door check of licenses and permits.

It's part of a canvassing of 19 ZIP code areas throughout the state, also including Fremont, Morgan Hill, Whittier, Cypress, Los Alamitos, Sylmar, Van Nuys, La Puente, Indio, Riverside, Indian Wells, San Diego, Fresno and Chico.

The board said it sent 16,738 letters to retailers throughout the state about the teams visits, saying the stated goals of visits are educating business owners on sales and use tax-reporting responsibilities and increasing tax compliance.

Since 2008, the Statewide Compliance and Outreach Program teams have visited more than 289,000 businesses in 416 zip codes statewide, according to the board. Of California businesses, about 2 percent operate without permits of licenses and don't collect sales, use and other taxes and fees. The board says noncompliance costs the state treasury more than $2 billion.

Seven teams operate from Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Van Nuys, Norwalk, Irvine and Riverside. They conduct door-to-door, in-person visits to check seller's permits at stores and other known retail and business locations. Business owners are asked only business-related questions and not about personal finances. Businesses found to be out of compliance are given instructions on how to register with the board and given information about other necessary licenses.

To contact the Oakland team, visit www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/SCOP_ContactInfo.htm. For general information, contact the Taxpayer Information Call Center at 800-400-7115 or visit www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/SCOP_Overview.htm.