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 III.
Free Do-it-Yourself Services – FTB encourages taxpayers and practitioners to explore its many self-service applications available through FTB’s website:
• CalFile makes filing easier – CalFile is one of FTB’s free, easy-to-use e-file options available to more than 6.4 million taxpayers. CalFile accepts taxpayers with income of up to $345,235, itemized deductions, and some tax credits.
CalFile guides taxpayers through a simple question and answer process. It takes about 15-30 minutes to complete. CalFile offers convenient features to make it easier to use including: getting an email confirmation verifying the return was filed, and having the ability to save information and come back later to finish the return. Taxpayers can also file the current year 2013 tax year return as well as the previous year, 2012.
Visit FTB’s website at ftb.ca.gov to access CalFile.
• Free online filing in minutes – FTB’s other free e-file program; ReadyReturn is for taxpayers who file simple returns. FTB uses information it already has to complete a ReadyReturn for selected taxpayers. Taxpayers who used the single or head of household filing status in the prior year, had one employer, claimed no more than five dependents, and took the standard deduction qualify for ReadyReturn.Taxpayers can visit FTB’s website ftb.ca.gov to see if a ReadyReturn is completed and waiting for them.
• MyFTB Account – Use this service to change a mailing address and get information about: wages, California withholding, estimated tax payments, balances due, or FTB-issued 1099 forms. Taxpayers and tax professionals must complete a one-time registration process.
• Estimated tax payment schedule – For taxpayers who need to make quarterly estimate payments, the California schedule differs from federal. To avoid an estimate penalty, taxpayers must pay:
• First quarter (April 15) 30 percent
• Second quarter (June 15) 40 percent
• Third quarter (September 15) 0 percent
• Fourth quarter (January 15) 30 percent
• Check Your Refund Status – After filing their 2013 tax return, taxpayers can use this service to see where their refund is. Generally, e-filed returns with refunds and requests for direct deposit are issued within 7-10 days and mailed refund checks are sent within two weeks. Paper-filed returns take longer, up to 6-8 weeks depending on the time of year the return is filed. This service is also available in Spanish.
• Pay Taxes Online – For taxpayers who owe, try Web Pay to pay a tax return balance due or make an extension or estimate payment. Taxpayers can schedule estimated tax payments for the year, sign up for free email reminders, save their bank account number for future use, and much more. For a fee, taxpayers can pay their taxes with their American Express, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard, and Visa cards.
• Request a Monthly Payment Plan – FTB offers monthly installment payment plans to taxpayers experiencing a financial hardship. Taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less and can repay their balance owed within five years generally qualify. For qualifications and to sign up, go to ftb.ca.gov and select installment agreement. Taxpayers can also apply by phone using our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system at 800.689.4776.
• Get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions – Find answers to questions about various tax topics such as return filing requirements, tax credits, and the eligibility requirements for the Head of Household filing status online at ftb.ca.gov.
• Try Live Chat- Live Chat lets taxpayers ask an FTB representative general tax questions and get help with FTB’s website.
• Phone Service – FTB provides automated toll-free phone service at 800.338.0505. To speak with a customer service representative, FTB staffs its general toll-free phone line, 800.852.5711, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays excluding state holidays.
• Field Offices – FTB has six regional field offices that provide walk-in service from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Ana. For directions, go to ftb.ca.gov and click on the Contact Us tab.
• Services Available in Spanish – FTB offers many services in Spanish including forms, publications, refund status, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Source: FTB Public Affairs Office
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