Extended Due Date Deadline Is October 15 for Filing State Tax Returns

Released: October 8, 2009

Sacramento – The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today reminded taxpayers that Thursday, October 15 is the deadline to timely file their 2008 state income tax return to avoid late filing penalties.

State law contains an automatic extension for personal income tax returns. More than 1.5 million Californians take advantage of that extension annually.

ReadyReturn and CalFile will be available through October 15 on FTB's website ftb.ca.gov. With ReadyReturn, the tax-filing burden is reduced by using wage and tax withholding data already provided to the state by employers to complete qualifying taxpayers' returns. CalFile is a free, direct-to-government, e-file program that accepts income of up to $326,379, itemized deductions, and some tax credits.

Taxpayers can also use a tax preparer, or one of the other free or fee-based e-file services listed on FTB's website. E-filing provides faster refunds, increased accuracy, and a timely confirmation that FTB received the return. For quick refunds, FTB encourages taxpayers to opt for direct deposit into their bank account.

Taxpayers can also access MyFTB Account, an online service where taxpayers can view their wage and withholding information, estimated payments, FTB issued 1099 data, and current balance information.

FTB offers taxpayers electronic payment options as well. FTB's Web Pay is a secure online service that provides the convenience of online bill payment. Taxpayers can pay the current amount owed; plus, schedule future payments, such as estimated tax payments, for up to one year in advance. Taxpayers can also pay using their Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard, American Express, or Visa credit cards. To pay by credit card, taxpayers can call (800) 2PAY TAX [(800) 272-9829] or visit officialpayments.com. The vendor charges a convenience fee.

Installment payment plans are available on FTB's website for taxpayers who face financial trouble. Those who owe less than $25,000 and can repay the tax within five years generally qualify.

Recent tax law changes make now a good time for taxpayers to review their withholding amounts to make sure the correct amount of taxes are being withheld from their wages. The 2009 California Tax Rates and Exemptions tables are now available at ftb.ca.gov. California's personal income tax rates were increased by .25 percent and the dependent exemption credit changed from $309 to $98, the same as the personal exemption credit.

As of October 6, 2009, California taxpayers filed more than 14.7 million personal income tax returns of which 10.5 million were e-filed. The state has issued 9.8 million refunds totaling $8.4 billion.

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