YOUR TAXES : PART FIVE: PAYING YOUR TAXES : State made changes in its tax code too : Toll-free line hours to be expanded to help taxpayers figure them out

From Times Wire Services

If you are one of the millions of Californians struggling with your income taxes right about now, don't feel alone. The state Franchise Tax Board can help.

Tax board Chairman and State Controller Gray Davis said the toll-free telephone section in Sacramento will be extending its hours to accommodate California residents who need assistance in completing their state tax returns.

Until April 15, the board's telephone section will remain open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the first two Saturdays in April from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. From Southern California phones, the number is (800) 852-5711.

"It is difficult for many California taxpayers to avail themselves of the toll-free line during business hours," Davis said. "It is my hope by extending the service into evenings and Saturdays, it will enable those who need assistance to get that help promptly and without additional cost."

The toll-free telephone section, which began operation in 1978, is designed to provide tax assistance to individuals year-round. Trained tax technicians are available to assist taxpayers with the completion of their returns, provide tax law information and answer questions regarding bills and notices.

In addition, Davis adds that few changes in California's state income tax laws took place this year. However, those more significant changes affect economic development, extension of jobs and ride-sharing tax credits, and exclusion of National Guard emergency duty pay.

Following is a summary of the significant law changes for 1986:

Economic development-enterprise zones--modifies and clarifies tax law relating to business activities and enterprise zones. In addition, it modifies the employer tax credit for hiring the disadvantaged.

Beverage containers: redemption and recycling--consumers are not taxed on amounts received on recycled containers.

Income taxation: Franchise Tax Board advice--provides release from penalties, interest and additions to tax when tax has been underpaid as a result of taxpayers' reliance on the tax board's written advice.

Growth income exclusion: National Guard emergency duty pay--excludes from income any emergency duty pay received by a National Guardsman as a result of a declared emergency.

Farm net operating loss carryovers--provides that farmers who have sustained net operating losses may carry over those losses for up to 15 years.

Jobs tax credit--extends the effective date for the jobs tax credit until Dec. 31, 1989.

Ride sharing: employer credit--extends the effective date for the ride-sharing tax credit until Jan. 1, 1991. In addition, extended provisions and incentives have been provided.

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