Joint Enforcement Strike Force: Combating the Underground Economy

The Joint Enforcement Strike Force (JESF) is a partnership of California enforcement agencies that work with local and federal agencies to:

The California Underground Economy refers to people and businesses who use cash or use other schemes to hide their activities and their true tax liability from government license, regulatory, and tax agencies.

Business owners who cut corners by not paying taxes, not providing enough insurance, and taking from their employees’ paychecks are part of the underground economy. For more information, visit Underground Economy Operations.

California’s welfare depends on the success of its businesses. To succeed, businesses need to compete on a level playing field. California has many rules and regulations that its businesses must follow, and when some business owners do not play by those rules, they have an unfair advantage.

JESF’s Legal Authority

The JESF’s authority was set up under section 329 of the California Unemployment Insurance Code (CUIC) to combat the underground economy by combining resources and sharing information among the state agencies that enforce tax, labor, and licensing laws.

The JESF’s goals are to help improve economic stability, working conditions, and consumer and worker protections in California. Specifically, the JESF works to:

  • End unfair business competition.
  • Protect workers by making sure that they get all compensation, benefits, and worker protections they are entitled to by law relating to their employment.
  • Protect consumers by making sure that all businesses are properly licensed and that they follow the state’s consumer protection laws.
  • Reduce the burden on law-abiding citizens and businesses making sure that all follow the state’s licensing, regulatory, and tax laws.
  • Reduce the tax gap by increasing voluntary compliance with the state’s tax laws to maximize the state’s General and Special Funds.

Each year by June 30th, the JESF prepares an annual report for the Governor and Legislature on their activities and accomplishments. The latest report is available to view in PDF.

For More Information

Last Revised: 08/26/2021

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Contact Us

If you have questions, Contact Payroll Taxes. You can also contact the Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886 or visit your local Employment Tax Office.