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Last Minute Tips for California Taxpayers

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Public Affairs Office
publicaffairsoffice@ftb.ca.gov

For Immediate Release

04.14.2011

Sacramento – Monday, April 18 is tax day. The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) offers time and money saving tips taxpayers should keep in mind.

  • Fast refunds through e-file. Use e-file and direct deposit to save time and to get your refund fast - generally within 7-10 days.
  • Free online filing in minutes. FTB has two free e-file programs: ReadyReturn is for taxpayers who used the single or head of household filing status the prior year, had one employer, claimed no more than five dependents, and took the standard deduction. ReadyReturn pulls data from wage reports and past tax returns to generate a completed return online. Most taxpayers completed the process in less than 15 minutes. For more complex filing needs, CalFile is the state's other no-cost, easy-to-use e-file option that is available to more than 6.4 million taxpayers.
  • Pay your taxes online. If you owe tax, consider using Web Pay to pay your tax return balance due or make an extension or estimate payment. If you make estimated tax payments, be sure to sign up for free automated reminders by email. You can schedule your estimated tax payments up to one year in advance.
  • Have a question? Try Live Chat. FTB's Live Chat allows you to ask an FTB representative general personal income tax questions and get help with FTB’s website. Access Live Chat from FTB’s Website under the Contact Us tab.
  • Check your refund online. If you filed and are expecting a refund, visit FTB’s website and use the Check Your Refund Status tool to see where your refund is. This service is also offered in Spanish.
  • Get help paying your taxes. Payment plans are available for taxpayers who face financial trouble. Those who owe less than $25,000 and can repay the tax within five years generally qualify.
  • Access Your Account. Use MyFTB Account to change your address and get information about your wages, California withholding, estimated tax payments, and more.
  • Watch for errors if filing a paper return. Double check your math, social security number(s), and the tax from the tax tables. You can also use the Tax Calculator to figure your 2010 tax by using your filing status and taxable income amount.
  • What to do if you can’t file on time. California taxpayers get an automatic extension until October 17 this year to file their tax returns, although taxes owed must be paid by Monday, April 18.
  • Claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. This is a federal incentive for low-income individuals and families. Taxpayers earning less than $48,362 can qualify for a “refundable” credit that can total up to $5,666. “Refundable” means that you do not have to have a tax liability to get a refund check from the federal government. If you think you might qualify, visit the IRS website at irs.gov and search for EITC Assistant. California has no comparable state credit.
  • Remember to report use tax. You may owe use tax on purchases you made from out-of-state or Internet sellers. Use tax can be reported on the income tax return instead of filing a use tax return with the State Board of Equalization. For more details about use tax, visit the BOE’s website at boe.ca.gov.

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit: taxes.ca.gov.

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