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Notes from the Tax Practitioner Liaison

Tax Practitioner Hotline: Supply and demand

If you called the FTB Practitioner Hotline recently, you may have experienced a delay in getting through. This is nothing new, and is not the result of a budget cut. Connecting to the hotline is always difficult this time of year. We experience a crescendo of calls about personal income tax issues in March and April. In addition, we refer to the first two weeks of March as “March madness” because we receive so many tax practitioner calls requesting that we verify BE estimate tax payments. The first two weeks in March is often the busiest time of year for us. Our agents average100 calls or more per day. Thankfully, the calls are usually short, but they are virtually nonstop and “queued up” from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Compared to last year, we have not reduced the number of staff on the Hotline.

Here’s the good news: for a few days after March 17, we typically see a slight decrease in calls. Take note of this for next year’s filing season and take advantage of this brief lull to make your calls. It only lasts a few days and then we are very busy again until after April 15. If you can, make your Hotline calls as early as possible in the filing season and avoid March madness. Better yet, avoid the queue altogether for your personal income tax client accounts by visiting My FTB Account on our Website at ftb.ca.gov. You can view estimated payments any time of the day or night, with no waiting.