Registered domestic partner (RDP) Filing status

Overview

The California Secretary of State (SOS) registers domestic partners who are:

  • Same-sex couples, regardless of the age of the partners
  • Opposite-sex couples, in which one partner is at least 62 years old

To file for a domestic partnership, use one of the following SOS forms:

Visit the SOS’s Domestic Partnership Form & Fees page for more information.

Filing information

Tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2007, requires you to use one of the same filing statuses as married couples:

  • Married/RDP filing jointly
  • Married/RDP filing separately
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow(er)

Before tax year 2007, you could not file a joint return with your partner.

Combine income and deductions from your separate federal returns to complete your California tax return and compute your tax.

Check the box in the Filing Status section of your tax return that asks “If your California filing status is different from your federal status, check the box here.”

Visit Tax Information for Registered domestic partners (FTB Pub 737) for more information.

Filing requirement

Visit Resident, Part-year resident and Nonresident taxation or Military for your filing requirement.

Deceased RDP

  • If an RDP passes away within the tax year, the surviving RDP can file a married filing joint return
  • For the next two years you may qualify for qualifying widow(er)

Visit deceased taxpayer for more information.

Withholding

Withholding is wages taken from your paycheck for state and federal income taxes. The proper withholding amount may help you avoid owing on tax day, and incurring penalties.

You may want to update your California filing status withholding allowances on Form DE-4 to avoid over or under withholding.

Innocent joint filer

When you dissolve a registered domestic partnership, a court may order one partner to pay an outstanding tax liability. However, we generally are not required to follow the order. There are some circumstances we grant innocent spouse relief.

Innocent Joint Filer Relief Request (FTB 705) explains the different types of relief.

Visit Innocent Joint Filer Tax Liability Relief page for more information.