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Californians e-File in Record Numbers

FTB Urges Procrastinators to File Online

State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Steve Westly today said more than 60 percent of all state tax returns to date have been filed online. So far, more than 6 million tax returns have been e-filed this year, compared to 3.9 million total e-filed last year.

"E-file is the best last-minute option. It eliminates the paperwork and the late-night rush to the post office," Westly said. "With e-file, taxpayers get fast, accurate return processing, speedy refunds, and a way to track tax return status online."

Westly also noted that more taxpayers are receiving refunds. So far this year, 6.2 million tax refunds have been processed, compared to 6.1 million last year at this time. In addition, the average refund amount this year is $631, an increase from $583 last year.

All tax filing information, including the following last-minute tax tips, is available online at www.ftb.ca.gov.

April 15 Is Not the Last Day to File

Can't file April 15? California has an automatic six-month extension until October 15 to file. However, the extension is for filing your return only. If you owe, you'll need to pay your taxes by the April 15 due date to avoid interest and penalties.

Payment Options

Taxpayers can pay their taxes through the FTB's Website. Web Pay works much like a debit card transaction. Taxpayers can authorize the FTB to withdraw funds from their bank account on a specific date, on or before April 15, to satisfy their return balance due or extension payment.

Taxpayers can also make estimated tax or bill payments. Taxpayers can also pay their taxes with their Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard, American Express, or Visa cards. To charge it, call (800) 2PAY TAX [(800) 272-9829] or access www.officialpayments.com. The vendor will charge a convenience fee.

Can't pay your taxes? Taxpayers can submit a payment plan request through the FTB's Website and hear back with an answer within a couple of days. If you owe less than $10,000 and can repay it within three years, you will generally qualify.

Tax Help Available

Taxpayers can visit the FTB's Website to get a quick overview of important information for this year's taxes, get answers to frequently asked tax questions, download tax forms, take advantage of free e-file, and use some of the many available e-services.

The FTB's automated phone service at (800) 338-0505 is available anytime to get answers to questions and to check on payments, balances due, or refunds. To speak with a customer service representative, call the FTB at (800) 852-5711 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Wednesday. On Thursday, the lines will be open until midnight. After April 15, our normal operating hours will return to Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For free help completing simple tax returns, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs staff more than 1,100 volunteer centers statewide. For the nearest location, call a customer service representative or visit our Website.