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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Californians Urged to Take 'Direct' Approach

For the first time, more than four million Californians can e-file their state income tax returns for free through the Franchise Tax Board's (FTB) Website, according to the FTB.

“Nearly a third of all Californians can now conveniently and securely file their state income tax returns for free through the state's Website,” stated State Controller and Chair of the Franchise Tax Board Steve Westly.

Taxpayers benefit from using e-file because of its fast, accurate return processing, speedy refunds within seven days, and acknowledgment that their return was filed. The state wins too through reduced processing costs.

Of the state's 14 million tax returns annually filed, 4.3 million taxpayers qualify to use this free service. The general qualifications are that single taxpayers must earn $50,000 or less (married taxpayers $100,000 or less), take the standard deduction, have three or fewer dependents, and be under 65. Those who qualify for the Renter's Credit can use this service.

It works like this: taxpayers log onto the FTB's Website at and click “FTB's Free 2EZ.” By reviewing a one-page chart that spells out who qualifies for the service, taxpayers can quickly determine their eligibility. Qualified taxpayers can proceed to the simple input sheets to type their W-2 and 1099 tax information. Once completed, taxpayers can print a copy for their records, then click “send” to file. It's that simple!

The FTB's free e-file service performs math calculations and tax table look-up functions. It's paperless since taxpayers can authorize their refunds to be directly deposited into their bank accounts and amounts owed can be paid electronically or by credit card.

Taxpayers may also be interested in going online to request payment plans, ask technical tax questions by email, take a Head of Household self to determine if they qualify for this favorable tax status, and get an email reminder to file. Taxpayers can also check their account for refund status, payments made, or a balance due.

Last year, nearly 3.4 million tax returns were e-filed with the FTB. To learn more, please visit our Website at

Chat with an FTB Representative