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Free Tax Help is Available - VITA, MYFTB Account, and Free Online California Tax Filing Open for Business

Released: March 16, 2009

SACRAMENTO –The Franchise Tax Board today announced that plenty of free tax assistance is available this tax season, both in-person and online. There are over 1,000 help centers statewide with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs providing free, easily accessible help with tax form preparation through April 15. Some sites offer services in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.

“We want to make sure taxpayers get every credit available to them,” said State Controller and FTB Chair John Chiang. “The federal Earned Income Tax Credit alone is worth thousands of dollars to working families, and yet one quarter of all eligible taxpayers miss out on that money each year.

State Controller Chiang’s office offers free tax preparation to low income families every year. Appointments in Los Angeles can be made by calling 213.833.6010. Taxpayers can make appointments in Sacramento by calling 916.445.2636.

For information on the more than 1,000 VITA locations throughout California, visit ftb.ca.gov and click on the free filling assistance link. Taxpayers can also access a number of resources online at FTB’s homepage, including:

  • E-file your tax return for free using ReadyReturn. Qualified taxpayers have a completed tax return ready and waiting for them.
  • CalFile, California’s free and direct e-file program available to more than 6 million taxpayers. It is available in both English and Spanish.
  • Use MyFTB Account to check for estimated tax payments, recent payments made to your balance due or to look up your California wage and withholding information. Set up email reminders for estimate tax payments.
  • Make your tax payment online through Web Pay or a credit card.
  • Check the status of your tax refund.
  • Apply for an installment payment plan.
  • Find answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Get tax forms and publications.

One last tip: not everyone has to file. Each year we get thousands of tax returns from people who have no filing requirements. We base our filing requirements on income amounts and exemption credits. For 2008, you will generally not have to file if:

  • The taxpayer is single or head of household and your total income was less than $14,845.
  • The taxpayer is married with total income of less than $29,690.

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