Sacramento – The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today reported that most tax refunds are arriving within 12 business days for taxpayers who file electronically and request direct deposit.
However, some refunds can take significantly longer as FTB joins a nationwide effort to protect taxpayers’ money by preventing fraud, tax theft, and other abusive practices. According to the IRS, identity theft and other criminal schemes involving fraudulently filed tax returns are becoming more common.
“No one wants to see refunds delayed,” said Controller Betty T. Yee, FTB chair and the state’s chief fiscal officer. “However, FTB’s anti-fraud efforts help to assure all taxpayers that everything possible is being done to safeguard their hard-earned dollars.”
Since January 1, FTB has issued 4.2 million refunds with an average amount of $700. About 84 percent of all refunds were issued within seven to 12 days when the taxpayer elected to use direct deposit. That figure was down slightly from 90 percent in the past two years.
While most California taxpayers will see no delay, some will be asked by the FTB for more information to confirm the figures reported on their returns. Other returns will go through additional reviews to check for accuracy, completeness, and common indicators of fraud or identity theft.
The IRS reports that scammers have tried to trick taxpayers via threatening phone calls in which they impersonate tax agents and through phishing schemes aimed at stealing sensitive tax information. The U.S. Inspector General last week urged taxpayers to stay on high alert through the end of the 2016 tax filing season.
The reviews can mean extended processing times for some taxpayers. FTB has taken this action to make sure the correct refund amount is issued to the right person.
Taxpayers may track the status of their refunds at ftb.ca.gov or download the FTB Refund Mobile App available for iPhone.
Related Tips for Taxpayers
Errors on returns can slow refund processing. Be sure to:
· Choose the correct filing status.
· Check the appropriate exemption boxes for your personal, spousal, and dependency exemptions.
· Enter the names and taxpayer identification numbers for everyone listed on your return.
· Be sure that required schedules are included and filled out completely.
E-filing is historically more accurate than paper tax returns. E-filing also reduces processing times.
Watch your mail. If FTB needs additional information, respond as soon as possible to reduce processing time. FTB may write asking for more information to verify your identity, your reported wages, and other items. If FTB suspects you may be a victim of identity theft, the first step it takes will be to notify you by mail at your address of record.