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California Income Taxes and State Tax Forms

California State Taxes for Tax Year 2020  (January 1 - Dec. 31, 2020) can be prepared and e-Filed now together with an IRS or Federal Income Tax Return (or learn how to only prepare and eFile a CA state return). The California tax filing and tax payment deadline is April 15, 2021 May 17, 2021. Find IRS or Federal Tax Return deadline details.
efile California tax return
"The Golden State"

Your 2020 California State Income Tax Return for Tax Year 2020 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2020) can be e-Filed with your IRS Income Tax Return. eFile.com makes it easy for you to prepare and e-file your IRS and or California State Tax Return (e.g resident, nonresident, or part-year resident returns).

  • California is the only state that allows you to prepare and eFile your CA state tax return if you already have e-Filed an IRS accepted tax return. Let's say you filed your 2020 IRS return on a different site and it got accepted by the IRS. Now you wish to prepare and eFile your CA return. Start your return on eFile.com and answer all the tax questions. When you check out you will e-File both your returns, IRS and California. However, your IRS return will be rejected due to the fact that you already have filed an IRS return; your CA return will be e-Filed and processed by CA. All other states do not enable this option. Contact us for a code so you don't have to pay for the IRS return, should your return not be free.
  • The procedure is similar if you want to prepare you CA return on eFile.com but PRINT and MAIL it.  For that, follow these state(s) ONLY tax preparation instructions. You can find California mailing addresses here.

Below, find various tax topics related to California State Taxes and actions to take for each.

Prepare only a CA State Return without an IRS return.
Step by step instructions on how to only Prepare and Download - not e-File- a CA State Return (or e-file a CA return with your Federal return so only the CA return is accepted) on eFile.com.
Where Is Your California Tax Refund Money?
Step 1: Sign into your eFile.com account and check acceptance by the Tax Agency.
Step 2: Check your California Tax Refund Status.
Where is Your IRS Refund?
Step 1: Sign into your eFile.com account and check acceptance by the IRS.
Step 2: Check your IRS Tax Refund Status.
California Income Tax Extension
How to correct a rejected Tax Return
If your CA Tax Return was rejected by the CA Tax Agency - not eFile.com - instructions on how to correct a rejected California Tax Return.
How to Pay Income Taxes
California, IRS Late Filing, Tax Payment Penalties
1. Late Filing Penalty: Applies if taxes are owed, no extension has been filed, and no tax return is eFiled after the six month extension period: 5% per month from May 17 until the return is filed or the maximum penalty of 25% has accrued.
2. Late Payment Penalty: Applies if taxes are owed, you filed your return by Oct. 15, but did not pay all of your taxes due by May 17: 5% per month and 0.5% of the unpaid tax for each month or part of the month it’s unpaid, not to exceed 40 months (monthly).
Contact the California Franchise Tax Board to apply for a Reasonable Cause - Claim for Refund so they may waive the penalty. If you have explored all your payment options (i.e. installment payment plan), filed all your required tax returns, and agreed with the tax amount you owe, you can request and file an Offer in Compromise
3. IRS Penalties: Calculate and Estimate your potential IRS Income Tax Return Penalties.
CA Tax Return Mailing Addresses
Find various California Mailing Addresses for tax returns, tax amendments, and tax payments.
California Income Tax Brackets 
California Income Tax Forms
California Unemployment Benefits
You do not need to pay state taxes on California unemployment income. It is only taxed at the federal level.


Start Federal and California Tax Returns

2021 California Income Tax Filing Deadlines by Tax Year

The majority of deadlines listed here are for Tax Year 2020. Some apply to upcoming Tax Years and some are IRS or Federal deadlines.

May 17, 2021
Tax Year 2020
Income Tax Return
Prepare and e-File an IRS (Due Date May 17, 2021) and California State Income Tax Return (Due Date May 17, 2021). - eFileIT*
May 17, 2021
2020 Income Tax Extension
October 15, 2021
Tax Year 2020
Income Tax Return after the May 17, 2021 California Tax Extension
Last day to e-File a 2020 California State Income Tax Return for Tax Extension Filers and late eFilers. You can only e-File (to file by paper see below) a California Income Tax Return together with an IRS Tax Return. eFileIT*
October 15, 2021 via mail-in Forms.
Forms incl. Mailing Address are listed below.
Tax Year 2020
Income Tax Return after the May 17, 2021 California Tax Extension
Deadline for taxpayers who got an CA Tax Extension to file their California Income Tax Return by mail-in Forms - the Forms incl. mailing addresses are listed below - is October 15, 2021. (Optionally, the eFileIT* deadline is Oct. 15, 2021). Instructions on how to only - without the IRS return - complete and file a California State Income Tax Return on eFile.com.
Tax Amendment for all Tax Years
IRS Due Dates
IRS Tax Return, Extension, Amendment Deadlines
Other State Tax Return, Extension, Amendment Deadlines
Select respective State Tax Return Deadlines.
2021, 2022, etc.
IRS Federal Income Tax Return, Amendment, Extension Deadlines
May 17, 2024
2020 California Income Tax Return Refund.
IRS Tax Return Refund Claim Deadline
The last day to file - you will not face late filing penalties - and claim your 2020 California Income Tax Return Refund. This deadline does not apply if you owe 2020 Income Taxes.

E-File These 2020 California State Tax Forms

Prepare and e-file these state forms for 2020 along with your Federal and State Income Tax Return on eFile.com. As you proceed through the tax interview on eFile.com, the e-File application will select the correct state forms for you. You can also select tax forms individually. All these forms will then be e-filed by you to the state tax agency. Here are instructions on how to only prepare a state income tax return.

eFileIT Now*
Form 540
California Resident Income Tax Return
Form 540NR
California Nonresident Income Tax Return
Form 592-B
Resident and Nonresident Withholding Tax Statement
Form 593
Real Estate Withholding Tax Statement
Form 3506
Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit
Form 3800
Tax Computation for Children with Investment Income 
Schedule CA
Income Adjustments
Schedule P 
Alternative Minimum Tax 
Schedule S
Other State Tax Credit
Sales and Use Tax Worksheet
Determines your paycheck CA Tax Withholding amount per employer.
Step 1: Complete and submit to your employer(s).
Step 2: Estimate, Calculate your IRS Tax Withholding now.
Extension Payment Voucher Form. (You can make Tax Payments online and not have to mail in this form.)

* Due to IRS and State Tax Agency tax data sharing and validation requirements, you can only e-file a State Income Tax Return while also e-filing a Federal Income Tax Return. This is not an eFile.com created policy, but all online tax web sites have to adhere to this IRS/state issued tax data sharing policy. You can however prepare all 44 State Income Tax Returns on eFile.com if you have already e-Filed or filed your IRS return, but you need to print your State Return from your eFile.com account, sign it, and mail it to the State Tax Agency. Instructions on how you can ONLY prepare and file State Income Tax Return(s). Only on eFile.com can you prepare, file or e-file unlimited State Tax Returns for one low price and not pay for each State return like you would do on H&R Block® vs. TurboTax®. Dare to Compare Now.

California Tax Extension

For Tax Year 2020, if you expect a refund or you don't owe taxes, you do not have to file a tax extension. However, if you believe you will owe taxes and can't file on time, you should take action and here are the options available for California:

  • If you do not owe California income taxes by the tax deadline of May 17, 2021, you do not have to prepare and file a CA tax extension. In case you expect a CA tax refund, you will need to file or e-File your CA tax return in order to receive your tax refund money. 
  • If you owe CA income taxes, you will either have to submit a CA tax return or extension by the May 17, 2021 tax deadline in order to avoid late filing penalties. The extension will only avoid late filing penalties until Oct. 15, 2021. Note: Unless you pay all your Taxes or eFile your tax return by Oct. 15, 2021, the late filing penalties will start again after Oct. 15, 2021. You have the follow two options to file a CA tax extension:
    • Pay all or some of your California income taxes online via: California Web Pay or via Official Payments. Paying your CA taxes online on time will be considered a CA tax extension and you do not have to mail in Form FTB-3519.
    • Complete Form FTB-3519, include a Check or Money Order, and mail both to the address on Form FTB-3519.
    • Even if you filed an extension, you will still need to file your CA tax return either via eFile or by paper by Oct. 15, 2021.
  • Important: If you owe California and/or IRS income taxes and do not file an IRS and California tax return or extension by May 17, 2021, you will be subject to IRS and CA late filing penalties. Estimate IRS late filing, payment penalties. In addition, if you do not pay your taxes by May 17, 2021, you will be subject to late tax payment penalties. Filing an extension on time will ONLY eliminate the late filing penalties but not the late tax payment penalties. Late filing penalties are generally higher than late payment penalties, thus file something on time even if you can't pay anything on time!

The deadline to e-file an IRS extension for 2020 Tax Returns is May 17, 2021. e-File a 2020 Tax Extension for free on eFile.com. Here are instructions on whether you should consider a Tax Extension or not.

The extended IRS/California eFile deadline is Oct. 15, 2021 - eFileIT*.  Or, if you plan to file or mail-in a California tax return on paper, the CA Mailing Addresses are listed below.

California State Tax Payment Options
You can select one of these payment options either after you have e-filed or filed your 2020 California Tax Return. Alternatively, you can pay California income tax here prior to filing (e.g with an extension). Plus, you can make online California tax estimated payments for next tax year. If you eFiled your taxes and pay online, you don't have to mail any CA forms (e.g. tax return, extension, or tax estimated form)
Create an account with California Web Pay to submit your payment directly to the state tax agency now. If you already have an account, log into your account to view the status of your payment, cancel a payment, or schedule a future payment. 
Check the status of your direct payment
This is a free option if you want to pay your taxes owed via your bank account.
Submit a tax payment via the Official Payments site. When you're on the site, select either the "Personal Income Tax Return - Filing Individually" or the "Personal Income Tax Return - Filing Jointly" option, then follow the on-screen prompts to enter and submit your payment and personal information (e.g. Payment Amount, Credit/Debit type, SSN, Tax Year, Form Type, etc.).
Use this payment option if you want to pay your tax payment via your credit card. There is an additional 2.3% service fee for paying with your card.
Apply for an installment agreement with the CA state tax agency (check the "I agree to all the Terms and Conditions listed above" box and click the gray "Apply Now" box).
Use this payment option if you cannot pay your tax bill and want to get on a payment plan. There is a $34 fee to set up a payment plan, which is added to to your taxes owed balance. Visit the CA state tax agency site for California payment plan qualifications
You can either submit your payment via mail or pay in person at a CA tax agency field office. On your payment, write your FTB ID, SSN, or ITIN, as well as the Tax Year for the payment. With your payment, include a copy of your bill or notice. Mail the payment to the CA mailing address with payment below 
Use this payment option if you prefer to submit your payment via check, money order, or casher's check in the mail or in person. 
Estimated Tax Payment Options
Choose one of these options: 1) Create an account with California Web Pay to submit your estimated payment (or if you already have an account, sign into your account). You can schedule all four of your quarterly payments in advance, enter and save your bank information, view your account history, and receive confirmation that the state tax agency accepted your payment. 2) Submit your estimated tax payment via the Official Payments site. When you're on the site, select either the "Individual Estimated Tax - Filing Individually" or the "Individual Estimated Tax - Filing Jointly" option. 3) Complete estimated payment voucher Form 540-ES. Include your check or money order with the voucher payable to "Franchise Tax Board". Write your SSN or ITIN, as well as the TY and "Form 540-ES" (e.g. “2021 Form 540-ES”) on the payment. Mail the voucher and check/money order to the Form 540-ES mailing address here. 
Use one of these payment options if you want to submit estimated taxes rather than submit all your taxes owed at once. 
You can use many of these online federal tax payment options before or after you e-File your Income Taxes. In addition, you can pay tax extension and tax estimated payments. For estimated payments, you do not have to submit a form. Extension you can eFile on eFile.com for free.
These payment options are independent from preparing and eFiling your tax return on eFile.com. eFile.com offers these payment options for the convenience for all tax payers.


California Tax Return, Amendment, etc. Mailing Addresses
Addresses to mail California Income Tax Returns, Amendments, Extensions, or Tax Payments.
CA Tax Return or Amended Tax Return: Address if you expect a Tax Refund or Don't Owe Taxes on your Tax Return
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento, CA 94240-0001
CA Tax Return, Extension, or Amended Return: Address if you owe Taxes and include payment. Tip: Make Tax Payments online and you will not have to mail any payments. See above.
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942867
Sacramento, CA 94267-0001
CA Tax Estimated Payments: include Tax Year 2021 Form 540-ES
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942867
Sacramento CA 94267-0008


Other U.S. States, Territories, and Protectorates