Deductions

Standard deduction

We allow all filing statuses to claim the standard deduction.

We have a lower standard deduction than the IRS.

Do you qualify for the standard deduction?

You can claim the standard deduction unless someone else claims you as a dependent on their tax return.

Do not use the below chart if someone else claims you on their return.

2019 Standard deduction amounts

Filing status Enter on line 18 of your 540
Single or married/Registered Domestic Partner (RDP) filing separately $4,537
Married/RDP filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) $9,074

Standard deduction for dependents

If someone else claims you on their tax return, use this calculation.

1. Enter your income from: line 2 of the "Standard Deduction Worksheet for Dependents" in the instructions for federal Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

1.

2. Minimum standard deduction

2. $1,100

3. Enter the larger of line 1 or line 2 here

3.

4. Enter amount shown for your filing status:

  • Single or married/RDP filing separately, enter $4,537
  • Married/RDP filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) enter $9,074

4.

5. Enter the smaller of line 3 or line 4 here and on Form 540, line 18. This is your standard deduction.

5.

Itemized deductions

Itemized deductions are expenses that you can claim on your tax return. They can decrease your taxable income.

We do not conform to all federal itemized deductions.

You should itemize your deductions if:

  • Your total itemized deductions are more than your standard deduction
  • You do not qualify to claim the standard deduction

Common itemized deductions

Deduction CA allowable amount Federal allowable amount
Medical and dental expenses Expenses that exceed 7.5% of your federal AGI Expenses that exceed 7.5% of your federal AGI
Home mortgage interest On home purchases up to $1,000,000 On home purchases up to $750,000
Unreimbursed employee business expenses Limited to 2% of your AGI None
Gambling losses Gambling losses are deductible to the extent of gambling winnings. All deductions for expenses incurred in carrying out wagering transactions, and not just gambling losses, are limited to the extent of gambling winnings.
Alimony Divorce or Separation Agreements executed after December 31, 2018:
  • California does not conform to the federal change. A schedule CA adjustment is needed.

Divorce or Separation Agreements executed before January 1, 2019:

  • California conforms to the federal law.
Divorce or Separation Agreements executed after December 31, 2018, (or executed on or before December 31, 2018 and modified after that date):
  • Alimony payments are not deducted by the payer spouse and are not included in the income by the recipient spouse.

Divorce or Separation Agreements executed before January 1, 2019:

  • Alimony payments are deducted by the payer and included in the income of the payee.

Visit 2019 Instructions for Schedule CA (540) or 2019 Instructions for Schedule CA (540NR) for more information.