Estimated tax paymentsEstimated tax installments
Estimated tax is the tax you expect to owe for the current tax year after subtracting:
- Credits you plan to take
- Tax you expect to have withheld
Typically if you have an employer, tax payments are automatically deducted from your check and sent to us. When you file a tax return, you find out if you’ve:
- Paid too much (you get a refund)
- Paid too little (you owe taxes)
If you expect to owe over a certain amount, you must make estimated tax payments throughout the year.
How to pay
- To make your payment online. Visit our payment options.
- Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942867
Sacramento CA 94267-0008
- Use Estimated Tax for Individuals (Form 540-ES) vouchers to pay your estimated tax by mail
- Make your check or money order payable to the “Franchise Tax Board”
- Write your SSN or ITIN and “2020 Form 540-ES” on it
There is a separate payment form for each due date. Be sure you use the form with the correct due date shown in the top margin of the form.
Visit Instructions for Form 540-ES for more information.
Who must pay
Generally, you must make estimated tax payments if in 2020 you expect to owe at least:
- $250 if married/RDP filing separately
And, you expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of one of the following:
- 90% of current year’s tax
- 100% of prior year’s tax (including alternative minimum tax)
Example:Mr. Smith’s tax liability was:
- $2,000 in 2020 (current year). 90% is $1,800
- $1,000 in 2019 (prior year). 100% is $1,000
Limit on the use of prior year’s tax
If you’re required to make estimated tax payments and your 2019 California adjusted gross income is more than:
- $75,000 if married/RDP filing separately
Then you must base your estimated tax based on the lesser of:
- 90% of your tax for 2020
- 110% of your tax for 2019 (including alternative minimum tax)
This rule does not apply to farmers or fishermen.
Example:Mrs. Smith’s tax liability was:
- $5,000 in 2020 (current year). 90% is $4,500
- $3,000 in 2019 (prior year). 110% is $3,300
High income estimated tax
If your 2020 California adjusted gross income is equal to or greater than:
- $500,000 if married/RDP filing separately
You must pay your estimated tax based on 90% of your tax for 2020.
Example:Mr. and Mrs. Grant’s 2020 joint AGI was $1,250,000. Their tax liability was:
- $127,518 in 2020 (current year). 90% is $114,766
How to calculate
Use the California Estimated Tax Worksheet in the Instructions for Form 540-ES to calculate your estimated tax.
Recalculating your estimated tax for each payment may increase accuracy.
When to pay
Your tax payments are due in 4 payments. California differs from federal. To avoid a penalty, you must pay on or before the below dates.
|1||30%||July 15, 2020|
|2||40%||July 15, 2020|
|3||0%||September 15, 2020|
|4||30%||January 15, 2021|
Check your estimated tax
Login or register for MyFTB to view estimated payments you’ve already made.