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California e-fileIndividual e-file Program General Information for Tax Preparers


Participating in the California Individual e-file Program has many benefits for you and your clients. Here are some highlights:

  • Proof of receipt - We provide acknowledgement that we have accepted a return or stand-alone Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) for further processing.
  • Opportunity to correct errors - Our system performs up-front edits on all incoming e-file returns and stand-alone EFW payments. We let you know if we detect any errors, what those errors are, and allow you time to make any corrections. This step reduces subsequent notices to your clients.
  • Accurate returns - Because most errors can be resolved before we accept the return for processing, less than one percent of e-file returns require special error handling.
  • Safe - We use the latest technologies to ensure the security and privacy of all taxpayer information. We receive all returns and stand-alone EFW payments via secure Internet transmission that uses 128-bit Secure Socket Layer encryption–the industry standard.
  • Year-round return filing - the Individual e-file system is available year-round. We allow individual taxpayers to e-file returns for taxable years 2016-2018.

California e-file Program Enrollment Requirements

The e-file process

The process for preparing and submitting an e-file return is very similar to the paper return process:

For tips about incorporating e-file in your office, check out our e-file tutorial.

For the complete e-file process rules, refer to the Handbook for Authorized e-file Providers (FTB Pub. 1345).

Acknowledgement (ACK) files and error resolution

ACK files are available 24 - 48 hours after you transmit your return or stand-alone EFW payment to us. Generally your software will instruct you how to obtain your ACK files.

If you are missing a batch of ACK files, contact your transmitter for assistance. If you transmit directly to us, please contact our e-Programs Customer Service.

If we find an error in the initial processing of a return or stand-alone EFW payment, we will reject the return and provide you information in the ACK file, including the error, form or schedule impacted, and occurrence number for multi-page forms and schedules.

If you are unable to resolve the error, please contact your software provider for assistance.

Review our list of top errors to avoid common mistakes.

Mandatory e-file

California tax law requires individual income tax returns prepared by certain income tax preparers to be electronically filed. To find out more, please visit our Mandatory Individual e-file Information Center.

Special note

If you develop your own software or transmit returns and/or stand-alone EFW payments directly to us, please review our e-file Program Information for Software Developers and Transmitters.


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Last Updated: 12.19.2018


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