The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) reminded taxpayers that Friday, October 15, is the deadline for filing 2020 state personal income tax returns to avoid late-filing penalties, and to be eligible for Golden State Stimulus (GSS) payments.
As of October 4, 2021, Californians had filed nearly 18.8 million personal income tax returns, with 93 percent of them filed electronically. The state has issued 14.7 million refunds this year, totaling more than $15.4 billion.
Tax credits and Golden State stimulus payments
Taxpayers who are 18 or older, work, and have low income, can take advantage of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and receive up to $3,027 cash back. If by the end of the year those qualifying for CalEITC have at least one child under the age of 6, they may be eligible for $1,000 from the Young Child Tax Credit.
Taxpayers who have California adjusted gross income of $1 to $75,000 for the 2020 tax year -- and who file their state tax return by October 15, 2021 – are eligible for the Golden State Stimulus II. Taxpayers filing with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) who have applied for but have not received their ITIN by October 15, 2021, have until February 15, 2022, to file their return and still be eligible for GSS I and GSS II. To be eligible, taxpayers cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, must be a California resident on the date payment is issued, and must have been a California resident for more than half of 2020. Visit FTB’s help page for more information about GSS.
Taxpayers can file electronically free of charge using FTB’s CalFile program. CalFile and a list of other free or fee-based e-file services are available at FTB's website.
E-filing provides faster refunds, increased accuracy, and immediate confirmation that FTB received a return. For quicker refunds, FTB encourages taxpayers to opt for direct deposits to their bank accounts.
Help with payments
Taxpayers can use FTB’s electronic payment options. Web Pay allows taxpayers to authorize a payment from a bank account to cover return balances. Individual taxpayers can also go to their MyFTB account to securely access their tax information and to view and schedule tax payments.
Personal income taxes were due May 17 this year, but installment plans are available on the FTB website for taxpayers facing financial hardship. People who owe $25,000 or less and can repay within five years generally qualify.
Individual taxpayers and businesses affected by the California wildfires may have more time to make certain payments and file their 2020 state income tax returns. On August 27 and September 22, taxpayers in the following California counties were granted an extension until November 15 to file state tax returns and make certain payments: Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Tehama and Trinity. For details, see the full list of qualified disasters.