The Value of Checking FTB Wait Times

By Joyce Cheng, EA, Advocacy & Governance Manager

One of the useful tools on the FTB website is the Wait Times page. This page includes a lot of information that can help manage your clients’ expectations or help you plan when to contact FTB.

There are separate sections for Customer Service, Personal Collections, and Business Collections. Each of these sections contains information on mail, chat, and fax response times as well, and a graph to show you the average wait times by weekday. There are also processing times listed for tax returns and refunds, and a separate one for payment processing.

E-filed returns are supposed to be processed faster than paper returns. However, the benefit for e-filing a personal income tax return is only one week, as the site indicates (right now) that e-filed returns are processed in three weeks, and paper returns are processed in four weeks. This benefit disappears when looking at business returns: e-filed and paper returns take eight months to process.

Payment processing has been the subject of Members’ conversations* for some time now. According to the FTB website, personal income tax payments take between five and 14 days to process, depending on the method of payment. But again, business payments take longer, about a month, regardless of payment method.

Periodically checking FTB wait times is a great way to:

  • Manage your clients’ expectations;
  • Plan and schedule when to call FTB; and
  • Know when to follow up on payments submitted.

*This is an issue that will be raised at STALM on September 21.