Monday deadline to file taxes without penalties

SACRAMENTO - The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) this week reminded taxpayers that Monday, Oct. 15 is the deadline to file their 2011 state personal income tax returns to avoid late filing penalties.Each year Californians file more than 15 million personal income tax returns, with more than 1.5 million taking advantage of California's automatic filing extension. Free tax help is still available. ReadyReturn and CalFile will be available through October 15 on FTB's website The ReadyReturn program completes the taxpayer's return for them using information already collected from employers-such as W-2s. CalFile is a free, direct-to-government, e-file program that accepts income of up to $333,134, itemized deductions, and some tax credits. Taxpayers can also use a tax preparer, or one of the other free or fee-based e-file services listed on FTB's website. E-filing provides faster refunds, increased accuracy, and a timely confirmation that FTB received the return. For quick refunds, FTB encourages taxpayers to opt for direct deposit into their bank account. Taxpayers can also access MyFTB Account, an online service where taxpayers can view their wage and withholding information, estimated payments, FTB issued 1099s, and current balance information. Installment payment plans are available on FTB's website for taxpayers who face financial trouble. Those who owe $25,000 or less and can repay the tax within five years generally qualify. Don't forget the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This is a federal incentive for low-income individuals and families. Taxpayers earning less than $49,078 can qualify for a "refundable" credit that can total up to $5,751. "Refundable" means taxpayers do not have to have a tax liability to get a refund check from the government. Taxpayers can see if they qualify for the credit by visiting the IRS website at and searching for EITC Assistant. California has no comparable state credit. As of October 4, 2012, California taxpayers filed nearly 15.1 million personal income tax returns of which 12.4 million were e-filed. The state has issued 10.3 million refunds totaling $9.4 billion.

********** Published: October 11, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 26