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Haven't Filed? Tips to Tame Your Last-Minute Tax Blues

Released: April 12, 2007

There's less than a week left to file your state income tax returns. Having trouble getting started? Here are a few last minute tax tips for Californians.

Relax. You Have Two Extra Days to File
This year taxpayers (both individual and business taxpayers) have until April 17 to file their returns and pay. If a taxpayer still can't file by this date, California has an automatic six-month extension to file until October 15. However, the extension is only for filing your return. If you owe, your tax payments are still due by the April 17 due date to avoid interest and penalties.

How To Get Your Refund Fast
“E-file is the best last-minute option,” said State Controller and FTB Chair John Chiang. “It eliminates the paperwork and the late-night rush to the post office.”

When you e-file your return and choose direct deposit, your refund can be in your account in 7-10 days. Filing by paper will take weeks longer to process your return and longer for you to receive your money.

If You Owe, There are Payment Options
Taxpayers who e-file and owe money can pay electronically with electronic funds withdrawal (EFW). An EFW can be authorized at the time an e-file return is filed and scheduled for payment by April 17. Taxpayers can also use FTB's online payment application, Web Pay, to pay their taxes electronically. Web Pay allows taxpayers to pay their return balance due, extension payment, estimated taxes, billing notices, or prior year returns by authorizing FTB to debit their checking or savings account. For a small fee, taxpayers can pay their taxes with their Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard, American Express, or Visa cards. To charge it, check our Website, call (800) 272-9829, or access www.officialpayments.com.

If you can't pay your taxes, request a payment plan online. If you owe less than $25,000 and can repay it within five years, you will generally qualify.

Tax Help Available
Taxpayers can go to www.ftb.ca.gov to get a quick overview of this year's tax information, get answers to tax questions, download forms, take advantage of free e-file, and use some of the many available e-services.

The FTB provides 24-hour automated phone service toll-free at (800) 338-0505. To speak with someone, the FTB staffs its general toll-free phone line, (800) 852-5711, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekdays, through April 17, and offers extended hours on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The FTB has six regional field offices that provide walk-in service in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Ana.

For free help completing simple tax returns, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs staff more than 1,800 volunteer centers statewide. For the nearest location, call or visit the FTB's Website.