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:
- Combat the underground economy in California.
- Promote a level playing field for California businesses.
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.
We are the designated lead agency of the JESF, a member, and our EDD Director or designee serves as the JESF chair. The JESF members include, but are not limited to:
- Department of Consumer Affairs: 1-800-952-5210
- Department of Consumer Affairs – Contractors’ State License Board: 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
- Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Automotive Repair: 1-800-952-5210
- Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Security and Investigative Services: 1-800-952-5210
- Department of Industrial Relations: Wage, Safety, and Work Violations
- Department of Industrial Relations – Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
- Department of Industrial Relations – Division of Occupational Safety and Health
- California Department of Insurance: 1-800-927-HELP (4357)
- Franchise Tax Board – Report Tax Fraud: 1-800-540-3453
- California Department of Tax and Fee Administration: 1-800-400-7115
- California Department of Justice : 1-800-952-5225
- California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
- U.S. Department of Labor – Wage and Hour Division: 1-866-487-9243
- U.S. IRS
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.
For More Information
- Joint Enforcement Strike Force Booklet (DE 663) (PDF)
- Joint Enforcement Strike Force Informational Sheet (DE 664) (PDF)
- Joint Enforcement Strike Force Brochure (DE 665) (PDF)
- Help Us Fight Fraud: Find information on how workers or businesses can report a business involved in the underground economy.
- Press Room: Find articles and news stories regarding the underground economy.
- Government Entitles: Working Together to Gain the Greatest Impact – Learn more about the governmental entities involved with the JESF.
e-Services for Business
Last Revised: 04/19/2022