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No snail mail tax forms this year

In the interest of saving money and expediting response time, California’s Franchise Tax Board will not mail out tax booklets anymore.

It wants taxpayers to file electronically and is sending letters out in the next few days with information on how to file returns electronically. Those who cannot file online can get booklets at the post office or a local library. They can also download the booklet from the FTB’s web site and print it out.

The Franchise Tax Board’s Daniel Tahara said 43 million sheets of paper were used for the booklets mailed out last year. But less than 5 percent of taxpayers used the forms contained in the booklets.

“I think it’s more a sign of the times. With the popularity of e-filing, last year over 11 million people e-filed their returns, which accounts for almost 75 percent of total returns filed,” Tahara said.

Those who did file paper returns tended to use forms from commercial tax-preparation sources, which they then printed and mailed to the FTB, rather than incur fees by filing online through those sources.

Tahara said that aside from the green benefit of e-filing, taxpayers will also have peace of mind in getting immediate confirmation that their tax returns have been received, instead of lining up at the post office and later wondering if it got there on time.

Cash-strapped California expects to save $1 million in printing and postage expenses.

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