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Avoid a late filing penalty with an April 18 postmarked return

Taxpayers have until midnight today, April 18th, to file their federal and California state tax returns to avoid a late filing penalty. Procrastinators received an extra three days to file this year, because the District of Columbia and IRS celebrated Emancipation Day on Friday.

Tax payments are due as well. Our March 23 and March 31 blog posts include tips on what to do if you cannot pay your California state or federal tax bill. This post will discuss how to avoid a failure to file penalty.

In California, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) hired 525 seasonal employees to sort the 15 million pieces of mail with tax returns and payments. Scanning machines at the unmarked office complex in Sacramento can scan 10,000 pages each hour.

A call center in the next building over contains more employees hard at work answering taxpayer questions. State Controller Betty Yee recently told Capitol Public Radio that taxpayers should pay as much as they can. Then call the FTB to discuss a payment plan. 

Extended postal service hours

The penalty for filing a late tax return is higher than the penalty for paying late. Avoid one of two penalties by getting your tax return in the mail postmarked before midnight tonight.

In Orange County, the Santa Ana postal processing center will remain open until midnight to accept your federal and state tax returns. Several other locations with extended hours include:

  • Los Angeles Processing Center on S. Central Ave.
  • San Bernardino Processing Center on Redlands Blvd.

If time got away from you this year and you didn't get the time to put together your tax documents, request an extension to file. This will avoid the failure to file penalty and allow you six more months to file your tax return.

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