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Fee Increased for Copies of State Tax Returns

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is increasing the fee it charges for providing copies of personal and business income tax returns to cover its costs of providing this service effective July 1, according to the FTB.

The charge for individuals requesting a copy of a tax return will rise to $20 per tax return, up from $10. Businesses will also be charged a static price of $20 per return rather than a per page charge. The new fee is based on the average actual cost of providing this service to taxpayers.

To obtain a copy of a tax return, taxpayers must submit a Request for Copy of Tax Return, FTB Form 3516, available from the FTB's Website at www.ftb.ca.gov. Taxpayers must pay the fee when they submit their request for copies. Checks or money orders must be payable to the FTB.

The FTB will still waive the fee for tax return copies requested by victims of designated disaster areas. Fees will no longer be waived for copies requested during or after an audit.

The FTB encourages taxpayers to retain copies of their state tax returns for at least four years, the normal statute of limitations period for conducting an audit. Depending on the types of transactions reported on a return, taxpayers may want to hold on to their returns indefinitely. To avoid the fee, taxpayers who had their return professionally prepared may want to contact their tax professional for any needed copies.

The FTB retains personal income tax returns for three and one-half years from the original due date. Business entity returns are generally kept for five years from the original due date. The last time the FTB increased the fee was in 1995.