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New system tallies California taxes for filers

For those with simple state taxes, filing returns might have just gotten even easier.

California's state Franchise Tax Board has launched a link on its Web site called ReadyReturn where people can log in and view tax returns the tax board has already completed for them. The board uses wage and withholding information provided by employers.

People can make changes or accept the tallies and file by getting a customer service number from the board, typing in personal information and clicking buttons. Refunds arrive in a week or less, according to the tax board. The site is at www.ftb.ca.gov,

The system is only for state taxes and only for people with straightforward tax situations: People who are single, have no dependents, took the standard deduction and only had one employer last year. People can see if they qualify by logging onto the site with their last names and social security numbers.

Those who do can then access the pre-tallied return, make changes, enter a bank account for the refund to be deposited into and press submit.

The tax board launched a pilot program two years ago but it required people to mail in documents. This is the first year where the all-online system is a regular program, said Theresa Gray, a spokeswoman for the tax board.

She said the state is the first in the country to offer the service and that other large states and the Internal Revenue Service are also moving toward online methods.

The service is available to taxpayers in both English and Spanish who file the 540 2EZ, 540A and in some cases, the 540 long form. Those with questions can call the tax board 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at 800-852-5711.

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