Thousands in California may owe state taxes because of technical glitch

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The California Franchise Tax Board says a technical glitch error resulted in thousands of possibly incorrect refunds.

As the FTB worked to review those more than 23,000 returns some local tax preparers said they had no idea about this error. They are bracing for calls from clients with questions.

Orange County tax preparer of 25 years, Maria Ferrari, worried her clients may owe the state cash because of the technical glitch.

"I'll probably be bombarded with calls," Ferrari said.

The California Franchise Tax Board posted the following announcement on its website Tuesday:

During the period from March 8, 2019 to March 11, 2019, a system error caused us to issue refunds to approximately 23,500 taxpayers without first verifying the claimed wage withholding. This may have led to the taxpayer's withholding being increased or decreased incorrectly. Additionally, the taxpayer may have received a Notice of Tax Return Change with an incorrect explanation of the adjustment.

In order to correct this error, in the coming weeks we are going to review each potentially impacted account and ensure that the proper amount of withholding is applied. This may result in a change to the refund that the taxpayer received. If they did not receive a refund, either an accurate bill will be mailed to them, or they will receive the refund that they are due.

We will be contacting affected taxpayers directly beginning the week of April 22nd. At that time, we will request additional information, if needed. Please accept our apology for any inconvenience this may have caused you or your clients.

Some of these payers may get a nice surprise check, others a not-so-exciting bill.

"We haven't been notified of such a thing. Usually the IRS or the state will send us an email or a letter stating that there's a glitch and that they're going to verify incomes," Ferrari said.

Several other OC tax preparers told Eyewitness News Wednesday they had yet to hear of the mistake by the FTB.

In an email the state agency said announcements were available on its website and go out as news flashes to those subscribed to their service.

Taxpayer Julio Aguirre didn't know if he was among the thousands affected by the error, but said he didn't think it was fair when one paid for other people's mistakes.

Ferrari said about half of her clients had a household income below $30,000 a year and she hoped they didn't end up having to pay California unexpectedly.

"As it is they have very low income so they're going to have even more problems paying their bills," Ferrari said.

Aguirre said when one is told what one is getting, one budgets and knows what he'll invest that money in.

The FTB said it would contact taxpayers involved in this error by letter starting April 22.
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