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In keeping up with the latest trends, the California Board of Equalization (BOE) has created two Web apps, enabling taxpayers to verify permits and find the closest BOE offices using mobile devices.

The announcement came this month from Betty T. Yee, BOE chairwoman, who said the new apps give taxpayers access to BOE information "in a way that's most convenient for them."

With the mapping app, for instance, users can locate the nearest BOE office on a map and call to find out office hours.

"Our taxpayer base is retailers," said Anita Gore, a BOE spokesperson. "If you're a retailer in the state of California, you have to have a permit with BOE. If you want to get a permit, you need to know where to come. You can easily find that now if you're out and about."

The second app, Gore said, makes it easier to verify retail permits remotely. This would come in handy for a flea market operator, for example, who must make sure each vendor has a valid permit. Now, an operator can confirm a permit number and business on the go.

Accessible from the BOE website, the apps fall in line with the latest push by government agencies to use smart phones as a tool for delivering data. Earlier this year, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) unveiled the DMV Now iPhone app, which allows iPhone owners to find the wait times for service at nearby field offices, maps and more.

BOE officials reached out to the DMV for direction, Gore said, and used internal resources to develop the apps in just a few days over three weeks. The Web apps do not need to be downloaded, but use the device's Web browser to access the free information.

The five-member BOE collects more than $53 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. According to the BOE, these two Web apps represent the first wave of applications. The publicly elected tax board plans to expand the mobile data-access options in the future.

"The explosion in the number of handheld mobile devices being used today means that people are constantly connecting to and searching for information," Yee said in a release. "We continue to use technology to connect and serve our taxpayers, whether it's by offering free e-filing or creating new mobile applications."

 

 

Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer