The state has given us such things as Proposition 13 that limits property tax increases and set off similar revolutions nationwide, state IOUs in lieu of tax refunds and, of course, the Governator who defeated an erroneous federal tax lien.
Yeah, it’s easy to poke fun at the Golden State and its taxes. But the Franchise Tax Board folks also have what some say is the filing format of the future: Ready Return.
This free service was developed to make filing individual income tax returns easier. Tax officials use information the state already has from the last return you filed and from your W-2 and then they fill out a California state tax return for you. All you need to do is review the form, make any necessary changes and file.
Of course, this option isn’t yet available to every Californian.
You can only have wage income, not money from investments or other sources, and there are limits on how much you can earn and still use the service.
Your filing status matters, too, as does the number of dependents you claim; more than five and you’re out of Ready Return luck.
Still it’s an interesting idea and given the way things out on the Left Coast seem to work their way eastward, one that taxpayers in other states might be seeing soon.