COVID-19 frequently asked questions for tax relief and assistance
The following special tax reliefs offered from March 12, 2020 through July 15, 2020 have expired:
- Various Extensions to file and pay deadlines
- Delayed collection action for:
- Personal income tax
- Business entity tax
- Non-tax debt programs
- The suspension of:
- Income tax refund offsets
- Monthly payments for installment agreements
- Non-filer compliance activities
- Extended time to protest or appeal an audit notice
We have additional resources available if you are experiencing a financial hardship, such as payment plans. If you need more information, contact us. If you have a letter, call the number on your letter for assistance.
Starting February 1, 2021, all of our Field Office Public Counters in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Ana, Oakland and Sacramento are open by appointment.
To schedule an appointment, visit our Office Locations page. If you visit an FTB Field Office without an appointment, we will schedule you for the next available appointment.
If you need help, use our website to find your answer online. If you need to make a payment, visit Pay by bank account (Web Pay). If you have a MyFTB account, you can also log in and make a bank account payment through Web Pay.
We are also processing requests for walk-through revivors remotely. We should be able to provide the revivor within 24 hours when the requirements are met. Visit us at one of our field office locations, contact us at 888-635-0494 or use our Revivor Assistance Request Form for further assistance.
Yes, taxpayers, can file their federal tax return online for free using the IRS Federal Free File program.
Taxpayers can file their California state tax return online using our free CalFile program.
CalFile is fast, easy, and free. It uses a simple step-by-step fill-in-the-blank process to complete the state tax return. Registration is not required to use CalFile and taxpayers are able to claim both CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) using the program.
FTB also has a list of other free online tax preparation options.
COVID-19 Economic impact payments
A4: Yes, the value of leave donated in exchange for amounts paid before January 1, 2021, to organizations that aid victims of COVID-19 is excludable from an employee’s income for California income tax purposes. Electing employees may not claim a charitable deduction for the value of the donated leave.
Q5: Are the payments that individuals received in 2020, from the federal government (i.e., $1,200 [$2,400 for individuals filing a joint return] and $500 per qualifying child) under the federal CARES Act or the $600 payments individuals receive from the federal government under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 subject to California income tax?
A5: No, these payments are not subject to California income tax.
Q6: Is the emergency increase in unemployment compensation benefits (in the amount of $600 per week) that individuals received in 2020, under the federal CARES Act or the increase of $300 per week that individuals receive in unemployment compensation benefits under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 subject to California income tax?
A6: No, these payments are not subject to California income tax.
A7: No, these modifications for NOLs do not apply for California income and franchise tax purposes.
A8: Yes, the federal early withdrawal penalty waivers for distributions from qualified retirement accounts under the federal CARES Act also applies for California income tax purposes.
A9: The IRS will post additional updates on their Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments page.
Will you suspend monthly payments for payment plans (installment agreements)?
Existing payment plans
If you currently can’t comply with the terms of an existing installment agreement (payment plan), you may request to skip your payments. You can request to skip payments online or by phone at 800-689-4776.
For court-ordered debt installment agreements, you can request to skip payments online by logging into your court-ordered debt account or by phone at 916-845-4064.
New payment plans
You can apply for a payment plan if you’re unable to fully pay your state taxes (as usual). If you have court-ordered debt, you can also apply for a payment plan. You can apply online, by phone, or mail. For more information:
Can I get my tax lien released?
We will work with taxpayers impacted by COVID -19 that have liens filed and are trying to secure financing to cover payroll, pay off their debts, etc.
When you contact us, we will perform a case-by-case evaluation. This will allow us to do the following:
- Evaluate each situation
- Determine whether the lien release would be in the best interest of you and the state
Program areas will work with you to request any needed documentation, and make a determination. If we determine a lien release is appropriate, we will assist with submitting the lien release to the appropriate county (ies).
If you made a combined estimated tax payment for the first and second quarter that was due on or before July 15, 2020, and it was more than $20,000, you must make all future payments to us electronically. You may request a waiver of this electronic payment requirement by completing FTB 4107. Visit Mandatory e-Pay for individuals for more information.
Residency and income sourcing
Your filing requirement and residency status (resident or nonresident) for your 2020 California personal income tax returns during COVID-19
When determining your filing requirement and residency status for 2020 California personal income tax returns, you should consider circumstances related to COVID-19.
If you are physically present in California for at least nine months you are presumed to be a resident of California for purposes of the California personal income tax under CRTC § 17016.
However, actions you took related to COVID-19 and Governor Newsom's Executive Order N-33-20, should be weighed when evaluating whether to file a California resident return. The determination of whether an individual is in (or out) of California for other than a temporary or transitory purpose is dependent to a large extent on the facts and circumstances of each particular case (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 18, § 17014(b)).
Your actions based on COVID-19 may establish facts and circumstances that support a determination of whether you are in (or out) of California for other than a temporary or transitory purpose. How much weight should be attributed to your actions related to COVID-19 may vary depending on other facts or factors.
In the Appeal of Stephen Bragg, 2003-SBE-002 (May 28, 2003) some 19 factors were identified, including physical presence, property interests and family abode. The factors identified in Bragg were neither exhaustive nor exclusive. In reviewing the weight to be attributed to an individual's actions related to COVID-19, in addition to the factors described in Bragg, the following non-exhaustive facts/factors might be relevant:
- When the individual entered California
- Whether the individual remained in California after the COVID-19 period (and if so, how long)
- Whether the individual remained in California throughout the COVID-19 period
- Whether the individual provided COVID-19-related services in California
- Whether the individual cared for an at-risk family member or friend
Income sourcing for nonresidents temporarily relocated to California, and filing and paying California income taxes during COVID-19
Scenario 1: You work for an out-of-state employer and receive a W-2 from them. You temporarily relocate to California. Do you need to file a California return and pay California income tax?
Answer: Yes. As a nonresident who relocates to California for any portion of the year, you will have California source income during the period of time you performed services in California. You will need to file a California Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return (Form 540NR) return to report the California sourced portion of your compensation. One way to calculate the portion of your income that is California sourced is to multiply your total amount of income for the year by a ratio of your total number of days performing services in California over your total number of days performing services worldwide.
Scenario 2: You work for a California employer and receive a W-2 from them. You relocate temporarily to California. Will you need to file a California return and pay California income tax?
Answer: You need to file a California personal income tax return if you performed services in California for wages. Where you performed services determines how you file your taxes (not the location of your employer). Review Scenario 1 for more information.
Scenario 3: You’re an independent contractor who relocates temporarily to California. You have not had previous source income from California. Will you need to file a California return?
Answer: Maybe. If you are a nonresident independent contractor whose income was not previously considered California source, you would not create California source income simply by relocating temporarily to California. If a customer in California receives the benefit of your services in California, you will need to file a return.
California source income for independent contractors is determined by looking to where the benefit of the service is received. The location where the independent contractor performs the work is not a factor.