State targeting those who didn’t file 2011 returns

You might be getting a call soon from the state Franchise Tax Board if you didn’t file a state income tax return for 2011.

The board is contacting more than one million Californians who didn’t meet the Oct. 15, 2012 deadline. It’s comparing records of filed tax returns with more than 400 million income records it receives each year from third parties to find those who earned California income but didn’t file a return. The FTB gets income information from the IRS, banks, employers, state departments, and other sources, and also uses occupational licenses and mortgage interest payment information to detect others who may also have a requirement to file a state tax return.

Around here, the FTB is looking up 27,751 people in Alameda County; 19,466 in Contra Costa County; 10,855 in San Mateo County; 25,435 in Santa Clara County, and 3,876 in Santa Cruz County. Last year, FTB collected more than $714 million statewide through these efforts.

Those contacted have 30 days to file a state tax return or show why one is not due. When a required return is not filed, FTB issues a tax assessment using income records to estimate the amount of state tax due; that assessment includes interest, fees, and penalties that can total up to 50 percent.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Common Tater

    One MegaPeople didn’t file a state return!!!

    Why in hell should I be honest and law-abiding? No one seems to be watching.

  • JohnW

    Yes, indeed. You can see in the faces of the kids how unhappy and terrified they were to be invited to the White House to appear on stage with the President of the United States and have their letters read while he announced his proposals for protecting, among others, children. When they return to their home towns and schools, their classmates and teachers will surely express their condolences for how poorly they were treated by the Kenyan dictator. These youngsters will probably have to endure years of therapy to undo the trauma caused by this event. This is definitely just like Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Let’s impeach!

  • JohnW

    Oops!. Above remarks obviously pertain to a post on the gun topic, where there were comments concerning Obama’s use of kids as “props.” My bad.

  • RR senile columnist

    Who the heck cares? The state will likely send threatening letters to deceased citizens and then take months to acknowledge the error. A wise old rancher in a nearby state told me:” California? How it survives amazes me. You got wine – growers and pot-growers, Gay city by the Bay, Hollywood and the rest is Mexico”

  • JohnW

    In California, the individual tax return, if filed by mail, is a stack of paper that includes all the state forms plus a full copy of all the federal forms, with all kinds of redundancy. It’s absurd.

    In Colorado, the state return consist of one two-sided page. It takes about 10 minutes to complete, even if you do it by hand. It doesn’t matter whether you are an individual or a married couple. You just pay a flat 4.63% of your federal taxable income (after adding back the amount deducted for state income taxes). You don’t have to enclose a copy of your federal return, because they cross-check all that electronically.

    If taxable income is less than $49k for an individual, or $98k for a couple, you would pay more in Colorado. Above those amounts, you pay more in California — lots more if your income is significantly above those thresholds; and lots less if your income is significantly below them.

  • Elwood

    I haven’t filed a return (other than electronically, prepared by my accountant)for years.

    Wouldn’t know where to begin.

  • JohnW

    I enjoy doing my own taxes and always have, except in a few years when my return had Romneyesque qualities (in terms of complexity, not dollar amount). Especially with TurboTax, I find it faster, cheaper and more convenient than dealing with an accountant.