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State Swamped with Tax Returns; Taxpayers Expecting a Refund Should e-File

As the tax season is quickly winding down, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is seeing a huge upswing in return filing, according to the FTB.

"Nearly half of all state returns are filed in the final two weeks of the tax season, and Californians should know that filing electronically is the fastest way to get a refund,"stated State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly.

The benefits of using e-file are quick refunds within seven days, accurate return preparation that is paperless, and acknowledgement that the FTB received the return. Taxpayers requesting refunds from tax returns submitted by paper may wait six to eight weeks.

For taxpayers looking for a no-cost e-file option, CalFile is the FTB's free, direct-to-government e-file program. It is available to more than 6 million taxpayers who file the 540 2EZ, 540A, and to a limited degree the 540 long form. CalFile accepts income of nearly $280,000, itemized deductions, and some tax credits. To use CalFile, visit the FTB's Website at www.ftb.ca.gov. Many commercial e-file companies offer free e-file services to certain customers.

The CalFile program is expected to surpass last year's total volume of 109,643 returns later today.

The state benefits when taxpayers e-file. The returns are less prone to errors. And, each e-filed return saves the state $1 compared to the costs it takes to process a handwritten return that is mailed.

To date, taxpayers have submitted more than 8.2 million returns, with 5.8 million e-filed. The annual volume of personal income tax returns is around 14.4 million. The FTB expects to receive more than 7.9 million e-file returns from tax practitioners and taxpayers this year, compared to 7.2 million e-file returns received last year.

Taxpayers can visit the FTB's Website to find CalFile and all other e-file services. Information is also available regarding this year's taxes, answers to frequently asked questions, and many other e-services. Taxpayers also have the ability to check the status of payments, balances due, refunds, and use electronic methods to pay their taxes. For quick refunds, taxpayers should request Direct Deposit, which allows the state controller to deposit refunds directly into bank accounts.