The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently released an update on the current state tax filing season. The number of personal returns that were e-filed in 2017 increased by one percentage point as compared to 2016 (88% in 2017, and 87% in 2016). Some 133,400 people used CalFile to file returns this year, and 95% of CalFile users found that the program was easy to use and understand.
There have been 10.9 million California personal income tax refunds issued this year, amounting to $10.4 billion. Some 79,600 business entities also received refunds this year, totaling $1 billion.
So far this year, FTB’s primary contact center has been able to answer 56% of phone calls. The average wait time has decreased from 18 minutes in 2016 to 8 minutes in 2017. The Tax Practitioner Hotline answered 74% of calls offered. Authenticated chat, which allows for discussion of account-specific information, assisted 83% of participants. Non-authenticated chats answered 91% of chat participants.
Public counter staff located in six different field offices provided face-to-face assistance to 38,500 taxpayers. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) provide free tax return preparation for individuals who have a low income, are over the age of 60, or are serving in the military. In 2016, VITA volunteers electronically filed over 15,000 combined state and federal returns.
The FTB has allowed over 348,000 earned income tax credit (EITC) claims for a total of $181 million in tax credit this year. The average processing time for a return claiming the credit is between 7 and 10 days.
To read the FTB’s full report, click here.