The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced it is now accepting 2012 state tax returns, and announced the following updates on law changes and filing services for California taxpayers. American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – Due to changes contained in this federal legislation, the California Schedule CA (540 & 540NR), 540/540A and 540NR Booklets, and other products that reference federal Schedule A, are delayed as FTB staff analyzes the changes. The California Schedule CA is used by most taxpayers to make adjustments for differences between federal and state tax laws.
Taxpayers who file using FTB’s ReadyReturn, or Form 540 2EZ are not affected. Standard deduction – The standard deduction for single or filing separately tax statuses increased from $3,769 to $3,841. For joint, surviving spouse, or head of household filers, it increased from $7,538 to $7,682. Exemption credit increases – The dependent exemption credit increased from $315 to $321 per dependent. The personal exemption amount for single, filing separately, and head of household filers increased from $102 to $104.
For joint or surviving spouses, it increased from $204 to $208. Tax rates increase for some – Income tax rates increased by up to 3% for individuals making $250,000 or more. The income tax changes apply retroactively to all income earned or received since January 1, 2012. The law waives the underpayment of estimated tax penalty that results from a retroactive tax law change that takes place during the year. Free Do-it-Yourself Services – FTB encourages taxpayers and practitioners to explore its many self-service applications available through FTB’s website. Free online filing in minutes. FTB’s other free e-file program, ReadyReturn uses information the state already has to generate a completed state tax return online for selected taxpayers. Eligible taxpayers must have used the single or head of household filing status the prior year, had one employer, claimed no more than five dependents, and took the standard deduction.