Ninety two percent of Californians filed their taxes online so far this year. The remainder of tax payers will either ask for an extension or file them the old fashion way — through the mail.
Processing those paper tax returns requires a lot of man power. Right now, it's all hands-on deck at the tax board office in Sacramento.
"We have about 575 people working two shifts right now," Daniel Tahara, Franchised Tax Board spokesperson, said.
About 14 million pieces of paper will be delivered to the tax office this year. That's the equivalent weight of two Honda Civics.
"Electronic filing has reduced the amount of paper coming in by a third," Tahara said.
Before any of these tax returns can be processed, the envelopes must be opened. The processing machines open and sort around 30,000 pieces of mail an hour. Once opened, the documents are sent to the "tingle tables." They have a funny name, but the job is not always fun.
"Workers are pulling staples, paper clips and post it notes. Then they have to flatten out the paper to be scanned."
Tahara says the tax office does not like stapes or paper clips. They slow down the process, so tax preparers should mail in returns stacked neatly.
Once the staples are removed all paper documents are scanned into a computer. In the old days, it would take weeks to look up tax information, but not Tahara says the office can look up information in seconds.
The final step is to re-check every envelope for documents, and more importantly, tax payment checks. Once everything is processed all documents are stored up to 4 years before its shredded.
If you like getting a tax return let these workers know. Supervisor Tammy Potter dedicated a wall in the receiving department to "thank you" letters sent by tax payers.
"We get a lot of nice notes," Potter said. "This one is a Christmas letter and this one is simple. It says thank you for your service."
Potter says letters are great, but if you want to make these tax workers happy, get your taxes in early.
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