Nearly 1 million state tax returns yet to be filed as Oct. 16 deadline approaches

SACRAMENTO — The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) reminds taxpayers that Monday, Oct. 16, is the deadline for filing 2016 state personal income tax returns to avoid penalties.

Each year, Californians file more than 18 million state personal and business income tax returns.

While most file their returns by the traditional mid-April deadline, more than 1.5 million take advantage of California’s automatic six-month filing extension. As of now, nearly 800,000 2016 state returns have yet to be filed.

Those who have yet to file are also encouraged to see if they qualify for the cash-back California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), which is designed to help low-income families.

Many taxpayers can file a return electronically free of charge. Visit FTB’s website, ftb.ca.gov and search for “Online Filing Options” for a list of both free or fee-based e-file service providers. Eligible taxpayers who have already filed this year, but did not claim CalEITC, may do so by amending their return via a Form 540X within four years.

CalEITC was created by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature as a supplement to the federal EITC. Qualifying taxpayers can receive a total of up to $6,000 through the combined state and federal EITCs. To learn more, visit CalEITC4Me.org.

Payments for the 2016 tax year were due April 18, but taxpayers who still owe tax can use FTB’s electronic Web Pay to authorize payment from a bank account. For a fee, taxpayers can pay using major credit cards by calling (800) 2PAY TAX [(800) 272-9829] or by visiting officialpayments.com.

Installment plans are available for taxpayers facing financial hardship. Those who owe $25,000 or less and can repay within five years generally qualify.

As of Oct. 9, 2017, Californians filed more than 17.2 million personal income tax returns, 15.1 million of them electronically. The state has issued 11.8 million refunds totaling more than $11.9 billion.

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