California State Tax Filing Season Is Officially Open – Part I

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced it is now accepting 2013 state tax returns. Also, the FTB provides the following updates on law changes and filing services brought to you in this blog series – Part I.

What’s New for Individuals

Standard deduction – The standard deduction for single or filing separately tax statuses increased to $3,906. For joint, surviving spouse, or head of household filers, it increased to $7,812.

Exemption credit increases – The dependent exemption credit increased to $326 per dependent. The personal exemption amount for single, filing separately, and head of household filers increased to $106. For joint or surviving spouses, it increased to $212.

540A discontinued – For taxpayers who file paper returns, FTB eliminated this form due to decreased use. Tax preparation software or e-filing will automatically select the appropriate tax form for the taxpayer. FTB continues to offer two types of personal income tax forms:

• Form 540 (Long Form) that can be used by all tax filers
• Form 540 2EZ that can be used for tax filers with simple tax filing situations such as those who typically report income wages, interest, dividends, and pensions; and take the standard deduction.

Voluntary Contribution Fund – Taxpayers can contribute to one or more charitable causes directly from the state tax form. New on the 2013 tax return are the:

• American Red Cross Fund
• Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund
• Keep Arts in School Fund

Please see FTB’s tax forms for a complete listing of available charities. For more information visit and search for Voluntary Contributions.

Source: FTB Public Affairs Office

In accordance with Circular 230 Disclosure

Betty Williams has a broad range of experience handling civil and criminal tax controversy matters including income tax, employment tax, sales and use tax, property tax and IRS, FTB, and SBE audits, protests, and appeals. She has represented clients before the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. District Courts in California. Betty has obtained penalty abatement for numerous clients ranging from a few thousand to more than $2 million in late filing and late payment penalties. She has assisted numerous clients in the United States and abroad in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 IRS and FTB voluntary disclosure initiatives. She also represents foreign financial institutions regarding Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance. She has experience defending criminal tax matters and negotiating plea agreements in areas such as structuring, tax evasion, and the failure to file a tax return.

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2 comments on “California State Tax Filing Season Is Officially Open – Part I

  • Betty,

    I sent FTB an email in September 2013 before their annual public “open” meeting in Sacramento suggesting removal of Birthdates for both taxpayers & spouses on the state individual income tax return (CA 540 , etc.). I recently relocated to CA from IL as a tax professional (CPA & EA with over 30 years tax preparation experience) & was shocked Birthdates were requested when filing state income tax returns in CA.

    In an age of rampant “Identity Theft” , this just perpetrates the problem as it allows anyone who can get their hands on a paper CA 540 page one with names, social security numbers, and dates of birth. Of course, most folks E-file rather than paper file, but paper tax returns are printed and retained by taxpayers for record keeping purposes & may even be advertently throw out with garbage without properly shredding.

    I was disappointed my E-mail comment was ignored by FTB when they are proclaiming to “combat” and “police” Identity Theft in public. Shame on them !

  • Thanks for reviewing all the updates and condensing them into a few paragraphs. Extremely helpful! Also interesting that 540A is going away!

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