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Sweeping Changes in State's Free e-file Program

Controller Connell Announces Math, Tax Look-Up Added to the '2EZ Direct'.

Math calculations and tax look-up are available for the more than 4.3 million taxpayers who can e-file their state income tax returns for free using the Franchise Tax Board's 540 2EZ Direct service, announced State Controller and FTB Chair Kathleen Connell.

The three-member Franchise Tax Board today unanimously authorized development of the new functionality at its meeting in Sacramento. The system will be deployed on the FTB website, www.ftb.ca.gov, in time for the 2003 tax filing season.

“The new e-file functionality of the 540 2EZ will include tax calculations to make this service truly worthy of California's e-government standards. This added benefit will greatly improve the accuracy of self-prepared returns for nearly one-third of all California taxpayers,” stated Connell. “This added e-file capability has been part of my vision for free and simple e-filing for all Californians,” added Connell.

The new “2EZ Direct” service is geared towards taxpayers with uncomplicated tax scenarios who self prepare their own returns. The benefits of this e-file service include accurate return preparation, quick refunds within five to seven days, direct e- filing without going through a third party, confirmation that the FTB received the tax return, and, of course, it's free.

The 540 2EZ, created by Controller Connell in 1999, is the state's simplest and shortest tax form. The electronic version can be completed within 15 minutes, while the postcard-sized paper version has gained wide appeal for its simplicity in reducing the required lines of tax information needed and eliminating several math calculations. It is available to single taxpayers earning $50,000 or less and married taxpayers earning $100,000 or less who do not itemize deductions and have three or fewer dependents.