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Westly Launches Free Tax Filing

State and private services offer user convenience, faster refunds

LOS ANGELES - State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Steve Westly today launched NetFile, California's new, free service that allows taxpayers to file their state tax return online. This is the first time NetFile will be offered for the full tax season.

NetFile allows taxpayers to electronically file (e-file) their state tax return beginning Friday, January 16. In addition, eight private firms have agreed to offer their own free state and federal e-filing services, which will all be linked to the FTB Website.

“Online tax filing is easy, fast, and saves money,” Westly said. "The days when filing taxes required long nights at the kitchen table are over."

Online tax filing provides fast, accurate return processing, and refunds can be processed within seven days. Taxpayers who file the 540 2EZ, 540A, and to a limited degree the 540 long form, can use NetFile or other services. NetFile accepts income of up to $270,000, itemized deductions, and some tax credits.

NetFile saves the state money compared to traditional ways of filing taxes. Compared to a tax return prepared on a computer, printed, and mailed, the state saves 55 cents. Compared to a handwritten return that is mailed, the state saves $1.

FTB expects more than 6.4 million e-file returns from tax practitioners and taxpayers this year, compared to 3.7 million e-file returns processed last year. These figures include commercial and state e-file services.

Taxpayers can visit the FTB's Website to get information on this year's taxes, answers to frequently asked tax questions, take advantage of free e-file, check the status of payments, balances due, or refunds, and pay their taxes. For a quick refund, taxpayers can request Direct Deposit, which allows the state controller to deposit the refund directly into their bank account.

The state's NetFile and other private sector services can all be accessed through the FTB Website at www.ftb.ca.gov.