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State on Pace to Shatter Tax e-File Records

3.7 million Californians Have Already e-Filed Returns; A 65-Percent Increase Over Last Year

State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Steve Westly today announced that California taxpayers are e-filing at a record pace. With one month left until tax day, the FTB has already received 3.7 million electronically filed income tax returns, a 65-percent increase over last year at this time. The FTB expects to process 6.4 million e-filed returns by the end of the year.

“Millions of Californians are joining the e-file revolution,” said Westly, a former Internet executive. "The days when filing taxes meant tediously filling out forms by hand are over."

Westly added that e-filing saves the state money - it costs up to one dollar less to process an electronic return versus the traditional paper return.

Californians are increasingly taking advantage of all of the FTB's electronic services. The number of Direct Deposit refunds, which are faster and more secure than traditional paper checks, are up 18 percent from last year with an average refund of $766.

Taxpayers have a wide menu of e-filing options to choose from: tax preparers, which contribute 85 percent of all e-filed returns; do-it-yourself software products available on-line, some of which offer their services for free; and the FTB's NetFile, a free e-file service taxpayers can use to file directly to the FTB without going through a third party.

The FTB's website, at www.ftb.ca.gov, offers many more e-services. With their Social Security number and a customer service number, taxpayers can check the status of their refund, estimated tax payments, or balance due. They can also ask tax questions via e-mail, and take the Head of Household filing status self-test.

Franchise Tax Board 2004 Filing Season Statistics As of March 13


Personal Income Tax Returns YTD 2004 YTD 2003 % Change

Total paper

1,702,571
2,977,390
-42.8

Total e-file

3,656,311
2,226,984
+64.2

Refunds
YTD 2004
Dollar Amount
YTD 2003
Dollar Amount
% Change

Personal

3,934,086
$2,309,453,214
3,867,649
$2,094,253,578
+10.3

Average Refund

$587
$541
+8.4

Direct Deposit Refunds

1,517,469
$1,161,997,593
1,284,238
$938,025,730
+23.9

Average Refund

$766
$730
+4.8

Website Visitors
YTD 2004
YTD 2003
% Change
15,299,892
15,493,094
-1.2