May 17 Tax Deadline Approaching

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts Only

Public Affairs Office


Sacramento — With Tax Day approaching, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today offered last-minute tips to help Californians as they prepare their taxes before the May 17 filing and payment deadline.

“This is a challenging time for many Californians, and we want everyone to be aware of the valuable tax credits, stimulus payments, and free tax help available as they complete their returns,” said State Controller and FTB Chair Betty T. Yee. “I also want to remind people that you must file a tax return to receive the one-time Golden State Stimulus payment of $600 or $1,200 that is meant to help low-income Californians facing pandemic-related hardship.”

Golden State Stimulus (GSS)

Taxpayers are eligible for a GSS payment – limited to one per tax return – if they receive the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) or file their return with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and had 2020 income of $75,000 or less. Taxpayers must file a 2020 state income tax return to receive the GSS payment. Visit our GSS website to learn more about eligibility and when to expect a payment.

California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC)

Californians who have low income and work may qualify for CalEITC and YCTC. Starting this year, CalEITC and YCTC eligibility expands to taxpayers who file their taxes with an ITIN. Anyone with earned income of $30,000 or less might be eligible for CalEITC, which can be as much as $3,027 for a family with three or more children. Filers who qualify for CalEITC and had at least one child under the age of 6 at the end of last year may qualify for a YCTC up to $1,000. Combined, CalEITC, YCTC, and the federal EITC can boost the refunds of low-income individuals and families by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Learn more about these valuable credits.

Free tax help

Californians can file their state tax returns online for free using FTB’s fast, easy and free CalFile program. CalFile allows taxpayers to file directly with FTB and provides instant confirmation. Taxpayers can claim both CalEITC and the YCTC using the program.

Many Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations are closed during the pandemic. However, there are a limited number of locations around the state that continue to operate. Visit FTB’s VITA locator page for updated information on available sites and hours.

FTB also has a list of tax preparation options, some of which are free.

Tax filing extension

California taxpayers get an automatic extension to file state tax returns until Friday, October 15, although tax money owed must be paid or postmarked by Monday, May 17. Those unsure of whether they will owe money can access FTB’s Tax Calculator.

Pay online

Taxpayers can pay online with Web Pay directly from their bank accounts with no fees. Payments can also be made with MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover for a service fee of 2.3 percent.

Get help paying taxes

FTB recommends that taxpayers file returns on time and pay what they can to avoid late-payment penalties and interest. Those experiencing financial hardship generally qualify for a payment plan if they owe $25,000 or less and can repay within five years.

Check refunds online

Taxpayers who already filed their state return and are expecting a refund can use the Check Your Refund Status tool. FTB also provides this service in Spanish.

Access your account

The MyFTB account service allows taxpayers to view their tax documents, check balances due, access tax calculators, send secure messages to FTB staff, and more.

Get questions answered

FTB's Live Chat allows taxpayers to ask an FTB representative general tax questions and get help with FTB’s website in real time. Live Chat is not a secure channel. You should not offer personal information through Live Chat such as Social Security numbers or bank account information. Taxpayers also may call FTB at 800-852-5711.

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: