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Taxpayers face deadline to claim 2010 state refunds

Unclaimed refunds in Alameda County total $7,423,932, state tax agency reports

An estimated 1.2 million taxpayers who did not file a state tax return for 2010 face an April 15 deadline for claiming refunds, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced Monday.

In Alameda County, 45,254 taxpayers are eligible to receive a total of $7,423,932 in refunds for an average of $164 per taxpayer, the FTB reported. Statewide, unclaimed refunds total more than $160 million.

"This money belongs to taxpayers, and the FTB wants to do everything possible to make sure they get it," State Controller and FTB Chairwoman Betty T. Yee said.

Taxpayers may have missed out on claiming refunds because they made too little to require filing a tax return, even though they had taxes withheld from wages or made estimated tax payments. A return must be filed to qualify for a refund.

State tax law provides most taxpayers with a four-year window to make a claim. For 2010 returns, that window will generally close this year on April 15. Unclaimed refunds revert to the state.

Refunds for 2010 may be delayed for taxpayers who did not file returns for the three ensuing years while FTB determines if taxes are owed for those years. Also, refunds may be used to pay debts to the FTB or other state agencies, or for unpaid child support.

Current and prior-year tax forms are available at ftb.ca.gov/ Click on the forms and instructions link. Taxpayers who only need to report W-2 wages and withholding can access the 540 2EZ form, fill it out online in minutes, and mail it to the FTB.

Taxpayers missing tax documents for past years, such as Forms W-2, 1098, and 1099, should request copies from employers, banks or other payers.

Sign on to the FTB online at MyFTB Account to change a mailing address and view account information, such as California wages and withholding for up to four years. Taxpayers can also call the FTB at 800.852.5711.

Last year, California taxpayers filed more than 16 million returns and claimed nearly $11 billion in refunds.

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