Skip to Main Content

CalFileQualifications for tax year 2018

Review this information to learn if you qualify to use CalFile.

General Information

You qualify if You do not qualify if
  • You are filing an original 2018 return.
  • You were a California resident for the entire year.
  • You are claiming 10 or fewer dependents.
  • You are claiming educator expenses on your federal return that do not exceed $250 ($500 if filing jointly).
  • You plan to file using the Filing Status, Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, and you cannot claim your one and only dependent (child, stepchild, or adopted child) as a dependent on your return for one of the following reasons:
    • The child had gross income of $4,150 or more.
    • The child filed a joint return.
  • You are filing an amended return or a return for someone who died.
  • You are requesting a military- or disaster-related extension.
  • You have Health Savings Account (HSA) deductions or distributions.
  • Your spouse/RDP was active duty military and was domiciled in a community property state other than California.
  • You are claiming a disaster loss.
  • You are claiming Mortgage Debt Relief.
  • You are claiming Capital gains or losses.
  • You are claiming business or farming income or loss (federal Schedule C, D, F). See EITC exception.
  • You are claiming the income exclusions for rebates, vouchers, or other financial incentive issued by a local water agency or supplier, energy agency, or energy supplier.
  • You are claiming the income exclusion for financial incentive for seismic improvement which includes loan forgiveness, grant credit, rebate, voucher or other financial incentive issued by the California Residential Mitigation program or California Authority.
  • You are claiming income or loss from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, estates, trusts, REMICs, etc. (federal Schedule E).
  • You received federal form 1099-C (Cancellation of Debt).

Amount of Income

You qualify if You do not qualify if

Your federal Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) can be up to:

  • $194,504 if single or married/RDP filing separately.
  • $291,760 if head of household.
  • $389,013 if married/RDP filing jointly or qualifying widow(er).

Your federal AGI on Form 1040, line 7 is $0 or less.

Back to top

Sources of Income

You qualify if You do not qualify if
  • Wages, salaries, and tips or taxable scholarship and fellowship grants reported on Form W-2.
  • Taxable scholarships and grants not reported on a Form W-2 (e.g. reported on Form 1098T).
  • Interest and dividends reported on Form 1099-INT or 1099-DIV.
  • IRA distributions, pensions, and annuities reported on Form 1099-R.
  • Social security benefits reported on Form SSA-1099.
  • Gambling winnings reported on Form W-2G.
  • Unemployment compensation, paid family leave, and tax refund reported on Form 1099-G.
  • You received alimony.
  • Railroad retirement payments reported on Form RRB-1099 or RRB-1099-R.
  • Wages
    • You received a substitute or corrected W-2, W-2C, or a Form 4852.
    • Your wages or other income was exempted from federal tax by U.S. treaties.
    • W-2 box 12, a,b,c,d is Q (nontaxable combat pay).
    • W-2 box 13 statutory employee is checked.
  • Interest and Dividends
    • You received interest from non-California State or Municipal bonds.
    • The California tax-exempt interest dividends you received from mutual funds is less than the federal tax-exempt interest dividends.
    • You elected to report your child's interest and dividends.
  • IRAs, Pensions, or Annuities
    • You owe tax on an early distribution from an IRA or other retirement plan.
    • You have Roth IRA conversions or distributions (federal Form 8606).

If Unemployment compensation/Paid family leave benefits, or Social security benefits were your only source(s) of income, you cannot use CalFile. California does not tax this income.

Back to top

Adjustments for Federal AGI

You qualify if You do not qualify if

Any adjustments to income on your federal return are from:

  • Penalty on early withdrawal of savings.
  • Alimony paid.
  • IRA deduction.
  • Student loan interest deduction.

You have no restrictions other than those listed under General Information.

Back to top

California Adjustments to Income

You qualify if You do not qualify if

Any adjustments to your Federal AGI are from:

  • California income tax refund.
  • Nontaxable interest and ordinary dividends.
  • Unemployment compensation and/or unpaid family leave.
  • Social Security benefits.
  • Fully and partially taxable IRA distributions, pensions, and annuities.
  • Tier 1 and tier 2 railroad retirement payments.
  • California Lottery winnings.

If your California Pension & Annuity deductions for California are different than your federal deductions, please see Pub. 1005 Pension and Annuity Guidelines before beginning CalFile.

Nontaxable interest and ordinary dividends

  • The amount of California tax-exempt income is less than the amount exempt from federal taxes.

Fully and partially taxable IRA distributions, pensions, and annuities

  • You are required to report additional tax on an early distribution from a qualified retirement plan.
  • You have Roth IRA or Coverdell ESA conversions or distributions.
  • You need to restate your California IRA basis.
  • You received a lump-sum distribution from a profit sharing or retirement plan and chose the 10-year averaging method.
  • You have income earned by tribal members who live in Indian country affiliated with their tribe and receive earnings from the same tribal source of which they are members. For more information, get form FTB 3504, Enrolled Tribal Member Certification.

Back to top


You qualify if You do not qualify if
  • You can claim the Standard deduction.
  • You can itemize your deductions.

You need to adjust federal itemized deductions by any of the following:

  • College Access Credit.
  • Adoption Related Expenses.
  • Mortgage Income Credit (federal Form 8396).
  • Nontaxable Income Expenses related to producing income taxed under federal law but not taxed by California.
  • Investment Interest Expense Deduction (federal Form 4952 and FTB 3526).
  • Federal Estate Tax.
  • Generation Skipping Transfer Tax.
  • State Legislator's Travel Expenses.
  • Charitable Contributions exceeding 50% of federal AGI.
  • Charitable Contribution Carryover Deduction.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) Distributions.
  • Carryover Deduction of Appreciated Stock Contributed to a Private Foundation prior to 1/1/2002.
  • Interest on Loans from Utility Companies.
  • Claim of Right.
  • Certain Disaster Losses.
  • Personal Casualty and Theft Losses.
  • Mortgage interest deduction acquisition debt.
  • Foreign property tax deduction

Back to top


You qualify if You do not qualify if
  • Withholding on Form(s) W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R.
  • Estimated tax payments.
  • Extension payments.
  • Excess State Disability Insurance (SDI) or Voluntary Plan Disability Insurance (VPDI).
  • 2017 refund applied to 2018.
  • You had California withholding reported on a 1099-MISC.
  • You and your spouse/RDP paid joint estimated tax, but are now filing separate tax returns.

Back to top

Exemptions & Credits

You qualify if You do not qualify if

You claim any of the following credits:

  • Personal, Senior, Blind, or Dependent exemption credit.
  • Nonrefundable renter's credit.
  • Nonrefundable child and dependent care expenses credit.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
    • Note: You may include business income or loss for EITC purposes only. You must upload a PDF copy of your federal tax return when submitting your California tax return.

You claim the new home or first-time buyer credits.

You received dependent care benefits from an employer or need to claim credit for prior year expenses.

You need to file a Schedule S (Other State Tax Credit).

You are eligible for Special Credits:

  • Joint Custody Head of Household.
  • Dependent Parent.
  • Senior Head of Household.
  • Child Adoption Costs.
You have a foreign business address when claiming EITC.

Back to top

Start My Return

Is there something wrong with this page?

Help us improve our website

Don't include social security numbers or other personal/confidential information.

Last Updated: 04.23.2019


You are leaving

We do not control the destination site and cannot accept any responsibility for its contents, links, or offers. Review the site's security and confidentiality statements before using the site.

If you have any issues or technical problems, contact that site for assistance.

Ahora está saliendo de

Nosotros no controlamos el sitio web al que se destina y no podemos aceptar ninguna responsabilidad por su contenido, enlaces, u ofertas. Revise las declaraciones de seguridad y confidencialidad del sitio antes de usar el sitio. Si tiene algún problema en general o técnico, comuníquese con ese sitio para obtener asistencia.

Si tiene algún problema en general o técnico, comuníquese con ese sitio para obtener asistencia.