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State's Free e-file Program Expands

Controller Connell Directs FTB to Make e-file Available to All Californians

Californians will be able to e-file their state income tax return for free through the Franchise Tax Board’s Website starting next tax season, announced State Controller and FTB Chair Kathleen Connell.

The three-member Franchise Tax Board today unanimously authorized development of the state’s 540A and 540 tax forms at its meeting in Sacramento. The added e-file functionality will be deployed on the FTB Website, www.ftb.ca.gov, during the 2003 tax filing season.

“During my eight-year tenure as controller, I have made it my priority to increase customer service at the Franchise Tax Board, first starting with telephone filing and culminating with free e-file to all Californians,” stated Connell.

The benefits to taxpayers of using e-file include accurate return preparation, quick refunds within five to seven days, direct e-filing to the FTB without going through a third party, confirmation that the FTB received the tax return, and, of course, it’s free. The state benefits from reduced processing costs and return accuracy.

Earlier this fall, the three-member Franchise Tax Board authorized free e-file for the more than 4.3 million taxpayers who qualify to file the state’s short form. 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. The “2EZ Direct” service is geared towards taxpayers with uncomplicated tax scenarios who self-prepare their own returns.