California Business e-file Program - Frequently Asked Questions
- What is e-file for Business returns?
- Do I need to enroll in the California Business e-file Program?
- Do I need to re-enroll if I am currently an ERO for Individual e-file?
- Am I required to e-file my Business return?
- What are the benefits of Business e-file?
- Can I e-file all my business returns?
- Does California have an option to schedule an Electronic Funds Withdrawal payment similar to the IRS?
- Can a business e-file 52-53 week, short period, or final tax year returns?
- Will FTB require that the federal return accompany the state return?
- What are the signature requirements for Business e-file?
- Can I sign one e-file authorization form for multiple tax returns if I am the signing officer for all of them?
- Where can I get software to e-file business returns and stand-alone EFW payments?
- Can I transmit business returns and stand-alone EFW payments directly to FTB?
- Can business entities without a California identification (ID) number e-file their returns and stand-alone EFW payments?
- Do I need to complete PATS testing if I will transmit business returns and stand-alone EFW payments directly to FTB?
- If our corporation develops our own tax preparation software, does it need to be approved by FTB?
- Will FTB include more business forms for next tax year?
- How can I get the latest e-file information?
1. What is e-file for Business returns?
Business e-file is filing business tax returns electronically using a computer, software, or web-based communication. You can e-file Form 100, 100S, 100W, 100X (Corporations), Form 199 (Exempt Organization), Form 565 (Partnerships), and Form 568 (Limited Liability Companies).
2. Do I need to enroll in the California Business e-file Program?
No. Separate e-file registration is not required for Electronic Return Originators (EROs) to participate in the California e-file Program. Get more information.
3. Do I need to re-enroll if I am currently an ERO for Individual e-file?
No. Current individual e-file participants are automatically enrolled in the Business e-file Program.
4. Am I required to e-file my Business return?
Yes. Effective January 1, 2015, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, California law requires business entities that prepare an original or amended return using tax preparation software to electronically file (e-file) their return to us. The law applies to business entities and preparers who file the return on a business entity's behalf. Get more information.
5. What are the benefits of Business e-file?
Business e-file benefits include:
- Proof of receipt - Generally within 24 to 48 hours you will receive an acknowledgement that FTB has accepted your client's return for further processing.
- Accurate returns - The error rate for paper returns is approximately 10 percent, while e-file returns have an error rate of less than 1 percent.
- Opportunity to correct errors - The e-file program check returns for common error conditions before we process them. This provides you the opportunity to correct the return and avoid a notice.
- Business rule explanations - Explanations that pinpoint the location of the error in the return.
- Year-round return filing - Because many business returns are filed using a fiscal year calendar, the Business e-file system is available year-round.
- Safe - We use the latest technologies to ensure the security and privacy of all taxpayer information. Our Internet filing service uses the industry standard 128-bit Secure Socket Layer encryption.
6. Can I e-file all my business returns?
We accept FTB Form 100, 100S, 100W, and 100X including Combined Reporting, as well as the FTB Form 199, 565, and 568 and more commonly used forms and schedules. See our complete list of acceptable forms and schedules.
7. Does California have an option to schedule an Electronic Funds Withdrawal payment similar to the IRS?
Beginning January 2018, Business Entities and tax practitioners will have the ability to submit an Electronic Fund Withdrawal (EFW) request for additional payment types using tax preparation software. These payment requests will be accepted as “stand-alone,” and can be submitted separately from the e-file return. The return can be filed at a later date.
The following new payment types will be available:
- Corporation Quarterly Estimate Payments
- LLC Annual Tax Payment
- LLC Estimated Fee
As a reminder, the following payment types are also available through our stand-alone payment process:
- Estimate Payments
- Extension Payment
- Fiduciary (Estate/Trust)
- Estimate Payments
- Extension Payments
- Business Entities (Corporations/Limited Liability Companies/Partnerships)
- Extension Payments
Contact your software provider to see if they support “Stand Alone” EFW payments.
Business Entities and tax practitioners will still have the ability to submit EFW requests for return and estimate payments with the e-filed return using tax preparation software.
8. Can a business e-file 52-53 week, short period, or final year returns?
Yes. Business e-file will accept 52-53 week, short period, and final FTB Form 199, 100, 100S, 100W, Combined Reports, 565, and 568 returns.
9. Will FTB require that the federal return accompany the state return?
Generally, we require that the federal return accompany the state return. We do not require, however, that the IRS first accept the federal return. Your software provider will give you instructions on how they transmit the federal return.
10. What are the signature requirements for Business e-file?
Unlike the IRS, FTB does not offer an electronic signature option for our Business e-file Program. The business taxpayer, ERO, and paid preparer must sign the California e-file Return Authorization form (FTB 8453-C, FTB 8453-P , FTB 8453-LLC or FTB 8453-EO) prior to the transmission of the e-file return. This form may be retained by the preparer or business taxpayer according to the rules of our program or scanned and included as an attachment to the business e-file return. Do not mail this form to FTB.
11. Can I sign one e-file return authorization form for multiple tax returns if I am the signing officer for all of them?
Yes, you can sign one California e-file Return Authorization form (FTB 8453-C, FTB 8453-P , FTB 8453-LLC or FTB 8453-EO) that can be associated with multiple related tax returns. If you are a signing member, signing manager, or signing officer who is authorized to sign more than one return, a listing may be attached to one of the authorization forms listed above. The listing should include information requested in the form instructions. The signer must initial on the schedule next to each entity validating the entity’s inclusion in the bulk e-file return authorization.
12. Where can I get software to e-file business returns and stand-alone EFW payments?
We provide a listing of approved e-file software developers on our Website. You can also contact our e-file Customer Service at 916.845.0353.
13. Can I transmit business returns and stand-alone EFW payments directly to FTB?
It depends on the software you use. Contact your software company to see if they provide software that will allow you to transmit directly to us. If your software company does allow this, then you can contact our e-file Customer Service at 916.845.0353 for the communication testing requirements for direct transmitters or review Pub 1345 2017 Handbook for Authorized e-file Providers for more information.
14. Can business entities without a California identification (ID) number e-file their returns and stand-alone EFW payments?
Yes. There are two options to e-file for entities that are not registered with the California Secretary of State (SOS).
Business Entities without a California ID
We accept returns and stand-alone EFW payments without a California ID. The entity should provide an explanation in lieu of a number, such as “Applied for” or “Foreign Non-US”. Check with your software provider to make sure they support this feature.
Business Entities Assigned a California ID
If a business entity previously filed a return without a California ID number and they have not registered with the SOS, we will assign an ID number to use on future returns, payments, and documents. We will send a letter to the business entity advising of the assigned id number. To determine if we assigned a California ID number, contact us:
800.852.5711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except state holidays.
916.845.6500 (outside U.S.)
California Relay Service
711 or 800.735.2929
TTY (Device to Device)
15. Do I need to complete PATS testing if I transmit business returns and stand-alone EFW payments directly to FTB?
Yes. To transmit business returns and stand-alone EFW payments directly to FTB you must complete PATS testing. For more information about PATS testing, review FTB Pub. 1436X, 2017 Test Package for e-file of California Business, Individual, and Fiduciary Tax Returns and Stand-Alone Payments.
16. If our corporation develops our own tax preparation software, does it need to be approved by FTB?
Yes. If you develop and use substitute and reproduced tax forms, you must complete and submit Form 1096, Agreement to Comply with FTB Pub. 1098 and conform to Pub. 1098, Annual Requirements and Specifications for the Development and Use of Substitute, Scannable, and Reproduced Tax Forms. For more information, email Computerized Tax Processors.
17. Will FTB include more business forms for next tax year?
We are exploring adding more forms to our program each year. Stay tuned for the latest information on what's new for business e-file by joining our Subscription Services (See #18 below).
18. How can I get the latest e-file Information?
You can join our Subscription Services. Get the latest information on Business e-file, Individual e-file, e-Services, seminars, and processing developments important to tax professionals.
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Last Updated: 04.26.2018