State Postpones Deadline For Claiming 2016 Tax Refunds to May 17, 2021

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts Only

Public Affairs Office


Sacramento — State Controller and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Chair Betty T. Yee today announced an extension to May 17, 2021, for individual California taxpayers to claim a refund for tax year 2016.

“Individual taxpayers now have additional time to collect money owed to them on their 2016 tax returns,” said Yee. “Many people who were not required to file do not realize they could have years’ worth of tax credits due to them, which could have a big impact on their finances in these challenging times.”

Taxpayers normally have four years to file a claim for a state tax refund in California. Tax year 2016 state income tax returns were due in 2017, so the standard four-year statute of limitations for claiming a refund would have expired on April 15 of this year. With the postponement, individual taxpayers who are due a refund may now file their return for the 2016 tax year no later than May 17, 2021, to claim their money.

Similarly, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced an extension to May 17 for individual taxpayers who are due a refund on their tax year 2017 federal income tax returns. The IRS normally has a three-year statute of limitations to file a claim for a federal tax refund.

Taxpayers claiming a state refund for previous tax years can find Form 540 on FTB’s forms locator for the applicable tax year. Visit 2020 tax year extension to file and pay (individual) for more information about extensions to file claims for refund and other frequently asked questions.

In addition, FTB has begun contacting more than 448,000 taxpayers who have California income, but did not file a 2019 state income tax return. For most taxpayers the deadline to file a 2019 state tax return was October 15, 2020.

Taxpayers will have 30 days to file a state tax return or show why one is not due. For people who do not respond, FTB issues a tax assessment, which includes interest and penalties, using income records to estimate the amount of state tax due.

Some taxpayers may have earned too little income to require them to file a tax return. However, if they had wage withholding or they made estimated tax payments, they must file a tax return to get any tax credits or refund they are due.

Taxpayers receiving a Request or Demand for Tax Return can use FTB’s online service, to request more time to reply, retrieve information that can assist in filing a tax return, request tax forms, learn about payment options, and access other services. They can also call FTB for help at 866-204-7902.

FTB administers two of California’s major tax programs: Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax. FTB also administers other non tax programs and delinquent debt collection functions, including delinquent vehicle registration debt collections on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and court–ordered debt. Annually, FTB’s tax programs collect more than 70 percent of the state’s general fund. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit: