Forgot to File? FTB Sending Reminders

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is contacting the nearly 600,000 Californians who failed to file their 2003 state income tax returns.

"Honest taxpayers deserve to know that everyone is paying their fair share,“ State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly said. ”The first step is making sure everyone files a return."

The FTB's annual filing enforcement program identifies people who earned California income, but did not file a state income tax return. This program collected nearly $478 million dollars last fiscal year. The 2003 tax returns were due to the state by October 15, 2004.

The FTB annually receives more than 220 million income records from third parties such as banks, employers, state departments, the IRS, and other sources. The FTB matches these income records against the records of tax returns filed. The FTB gives nonfilers 30 days to file their return or show why a tax return is not due. Those who ignore the letter will soon get a tax assessment with added penalties and fees.

While this program mainly identifies wage earners and self-employed individuals who have not filed, it also detects other nonfilers through information sources such as occupational licenses and mortgage interest payments. The failure to file tax returns is one part of the tax gap along with underreporting of income, overstatement of tax deductions, and the underpayment of taxes owed. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is owed and the tax that is paid.

The FTB has a Website for those who receive notices, Through the Website, people can request more time to respond, retrieve information that can assist them in filing a tax return, learn about payment options, request tax forms, ask to be reminded about next year's filing deadline, correct a misreported social security number, and get answers to questions they may have concerning the notices. Individuals can also call the FTB at (866) 204-7902 to get information.

Editors' Note: Please call for occupation demographics and county and city statistics.

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