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Controller Chiang Announces Help for California Taxpayers

Released: February 6, 2007

SACRAMENTO – State Controller and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Chair John Chiang today kicked off the tax season by announcing services to help Californian taxpayers file their 2006 state and federal income taxes.

“The Franchise Tax Board continues to expand customer services to help taxpayers make quick work of their state taxes,” Chiang said. “Not everyone can afford to hire a tax professional or buy software to help with tax preparation. This year, we’ll have more than 1,800 events where volunteers can help the low-income, elderly, disabled, and non-English speaking California taxpayers complete their returns – and, in many cases, receive refunds and tax credits that they might have missed.”

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs have trained hundreds of volunteers to help California taxpayers complete their tax returns. The programs helped more than 260,000 people file on time last year. They also help residents take advantage of state and federal programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit, which can reduce taxes and provide savings for working families.

Nearly 460,000 families who were struggling financially or transitioning off of welfare last year did not claim the Earned Income Tax Credit on their federal taxes. Those families missed out on $850 million in refunds because they didn’t know about the credit, didn’t think they earned enough to pay taxes or wrongly feared receiving a credit might cancel other benefits. This credit refunds up to $4,536 for working families that earn less than $38,348 a year.

Almost 10 million taxpayers – nearly two-thirds of those who filed taxes last year – received a state tax refund averaging more than $800. This year, they can request their refunds be electronically deposited between two accounts. The accounts include Checking, Savings, IRA, or Money Market accounts.

Taxpayers this year also have two extra days to file. Both state and federal returns are not due until Tuesday, April 17.

The FTB continues to offer tax services in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean in response to the needs of California’s diverse population. For more information, go to www.ftb.ca.gov, or call the FTB’s automated, toll-free phone service at (800) 338-0505.