Claim for refund

Overview

A claim for refund is a request for reimbursement of amounts previously paid. Generally, if you have paid your balance in full you will file a formal claim. If you have not paid your balance in full, you will file an informal claim.

We accept claims for refunds through:

To be valid, your claim must be:

  • In writing
  • Signed by you or your authorized representative
  • Include the specific reason for your claim
  • Filed within the statute of limitations (SOL)

A claim for refund will not automatically stop collection action and cannot be filed if your business is suspended or forfeited

Statute of limitations

Generally, you can file a claim for refund:

  • 4 years after the original return due date
    • If you never filed a tax return, you still have a SOL of 4 years from the date your tax return was originally due.
  • 4 years after the date of a timely filed return
  • 1 year from the date of overpayment

What to include

For all claims, include:

  • Name
  • Social security number or identification number.
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Tax year
  • Reason for filing a claim
  • Any supporting documentation

Formal claim

If you’ve paid your balance in full, you can file a formal claim for refund to:

  • Reduce the amount of tax you paid.
  • Disagree with an assessment of:
    • Tax
    • Penalties
    • Interest

Informal claim

You may file an informal claim for refund even though you have not paid the full amount of:

  • Tax
  • Penalties
  • Interest

An informal claim will:

  • Delay the expiration of the statute of limitations until full payment is made
  • Protect your right to appeal
  • Protect your right to file suit in court

We’ll process the informal claim as a formal claim when the full amount due has been paid.

Before you mail your claim:

  • Individuals: Check the informal claim box on your amended return
  • Businesses: Write “informal claim” across the top of your amended return

Visit FTB Notice 2003-5 for more information.

Mail
Individuals, estates and trusts or group nonresident returns
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento CA 94240-0040
Businesses (includes exempt organizations and non-profits)
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942857
Sacramento CA 94257-4040

Reasonable cause

We may cancel certain penalties if reasonable cause exists. Reasonable cause means that the act occurred despite the exercise of ordinary business care and prudence.

Provide us a written statement with supporting documents listing the facts to support your claim.

Use one of the following forms to file a reasonable cause claim for refund:

Mail
Individuals, estates and trusts or group nonresident returns
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento CA 94240-0040
Businesses (includes exempt organizations and non-profits)
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942857
Sacramento CA 94257-4040
Online
Log in to MyFTB
  • Upload your Reasonable Cause form
  • Write your letter through a MyFTB message

Protective claim

You can file a claim for refund for a tax year where unresolved tax matters are pending. This is a protective claim and is done to preserve your statute of limitations when you’re expecting a refund.

Unresolved tax matters can include:

  • An appeal to the Office of Tax Appeals
  • A court case
  • An audit by the IRS
  • An audit by another state taxing agency
  • Other litigation

Individuals: Check the protective claim box on your amended return.

Businesses: Write “protective claim” across the top of your amended return.

You may also send us a letter. Write “protective claim” across the top.p

Include the following:

  • Specific information about the pending case
  • Specific information about the issue involved
  • Amount of the claim. Protective claims are usually for $1 or more

Mail your claim

Other correspondence

Amended returns are listed as other correspondence and general other correspondence (if you’re writing a letter) on our mailing website:

Mail
Individuals, estates and trusts or group nonresident returns
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento CA 94240-0040
Businesses (includes exempt organizations and non-profits)
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942857
Sacramento CA 94257-4040

Amended without payment

Amended returns with refund, zero balance or balance due without payment:

Mail
Individuals, estates and trusts or group nonresident returns
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento CA 94240-0001
Businesses (includes exempt organizations and non-profits)
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942857
Sacramento CA 94257-0500

If you already filed a claim

If you already filed a formal claim for refund, you may receive a letter from us approving or denying your claim. If you have not received a letter, and it has been more than 6 months, your claim for refund is deemed denied.

If your claim for refund is denied, you can now file:

Visit Personal Income Tax Denial of Claim for a Refund Information (FTB 1084) for more information.

Visit Business Entities – Denial of a Claim for Refund Information (FTB 1087) for more information.