Where Does Your State Income Tax Return End Up?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 16, 2007

The Franchise Tax Board complex off Bradshaw Road in Sacramento is a maze of buildings – all high security.
Patrick Hill, spokesman for the FTB, uses a special badge to get into the main building, which easily houses more than one thousand workers: 
The campus is more than a million square feet.  And we need it because we’re processing 15 million tax returns every year, another million business tax returns.
About 5 thousand people work at the board overall.
Hill heads to the room where one thousand of those employees are on the job.  It’s where the tax returns come in.  He calls it the “Pipeline:”
The mail comes in the door.  This is the first place it comes to.
The huge, windowless room is dominated by long, winding conveyer belts.  Hill stands next to one filled with standard sized white envelopes:
These are envelopes coming through and being sorted by type. Are they a tax return with money? Or are they a tax return for refund?
Workers with white and green rubber gloves stand at the ready to grab the envelopes and put them in various large bins.
Worker Terrance Ferrall is overseeing the conveyer belt to make sure
it doesn’t jam:

Right now we’re running the mail.  It’s a busy time of year, so we have lots of mail to run.
Lots means in the millions. 
Peter Dosh is receiving and data storage manager:
What we have coming through the door in April is between 5 and 6 million pieces of paper. 
Dosh says an additional 800 workers are hired to work in the Pipeline 
during tax season.  
After the envelopes come off the conveyer belts, they are sent to a much quieter part of the room, where employees take out checks that have been mailed in and separate returns that need refunds.
Then Hill points to a third area, one that is filled with dozens of desks:
As returns come in, they have to be numbered, so we can keep track of them.  She’s going to put that stamp on it. 
After being stamped, computer processors, enter the information into the tax board’s giant computers, where it is stored efficiently for at least 4 years.
The tax payment checks are taken to several banks every day.   This past Friday, 259 million dollars was deposited, all under the careful watch of Franchise Tax Board security teams.  So far this month, those security teams have taken 1 and a half billion dollars to the bank.