Help with refunds
Prior year refunds
You must contact us to check the status of a prior year tax refund.
Direct deposit is the fastest way to get your tax refund.
Setup direct deposit
Choose direct deposit to receive your refund into your bank account. You can do this through:
- Tax software
- Your tax professional
- Paper income tax form
On your 2020 paper tax return, enter your banking information on the following lines:
- Form 540: Lines 116 and 117
- Form 540 2EZ: Lines 37 and 38
- Form 540NR: Lines 126 and 127
Check your bank routing and account numbers so your bank doesn't reject your refund.
Different refund amount
Sometimes, you'll receive a refund that's either more or less than you expected. Common reasons include changes to a tax return or a payment of past due federal or state debts.
Tax return changes
If we made any changes to your tax return, your refund amount may change. You'll receive a letter in the mail (Notice of Tax Return Change) with the details of the changes and the updated refund amount.
Common changes include:
- Withholding or payments don't match our records
- You don't qualify for a tax credit
- We used your refund to pay a past tax debt
Past due government debt
If you owe money to a government agency, they may partner with us to collect it.
Common debts include:
We can also use your refund to pay all or part of a debt.
Visit Interagency intercept for more information.
Change in refund amount
Typically, if your refund amount changes, you'll still receive your refund by direct deposit.
You'll receive a letter in the mail explaining why your tax return was changed.
Refund anticipation loan: If you enter into this, contact your tax preparer for any questions.
Did not receive refund, or refund check was lost or damaged
If you haven’t received your refund yet, allow enough time to process your tax return.
If you still haven’t received a refund, or your check was lost or damaged, contact us.
Received a refund but didn't expect it
|Reason||What to do|
|Your payment went to the wrong year||If you know your payment went to the wrong year, send the refund check back to us with a letter explaining what happened.
Send a letter with:
If you’re unsure why you received a refund, contact us.
|You didn't file yet but received a refund||Contact us about your refund.|
Can’t deposit or cash an old refund check
Refund checks are good for a year from the issue date. If it’s been more than a year, you must send us a request to receive a new check.
|Date on the refund||What to include with your request||Processing time|
|1 to 3 years old||Send us a letter. Be sure to include:
||Allow at least 8 weeks|
|Over 3 years||Complete your request on a replacement form.
|Allow up to 18 months|
*The 18 month time frame cited above can be due to the anticipated time needed for the taxpayer to gather and provide the necessary information before FTB will be able to issue the new refund.
Want to get a refund of excess SDI?
If you paid more than the maximum State Disability Insurance (SDI) or Voluntary Plan Disability Insurance (VPDI) tax, you may be eligible to claim a credit for excess SDI.
You may claim this credit only if you meet all of the following:
- You had two or more employers in 2020
- You made more than $122,909 in wages
- SDI (or VPDI) is reported on your Form W-2
If one of your employers withheld SDI (or VPDI) from your wages at more than 1.00% of your gross wages, you may not claim excess SDI (or VPDI) on Form 540 or Form 540NR. Contact the employer for a refund.
To figure out the amount to enter on line 74 of Form 540 or line 84 of Form 540NR, fill out the Excess SDI (or VPDI) Worksheet. If married/registered domestic partner (RDP) and filing jointly, figure the amount of excess SDI (or VPDI) separately for each spouse/RDP.
For more information, review Form 540: 2020 Personal Income Tax Booklet or Form 540NR: 2020 Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Booklet.
Spouse passed away
The check has both your name and your spouse’s names on it. Take the check and a copy of the death certificate to your bank and try to cash or deposit it.
If your bank will not accept the refund check, contact us.
We will send you a letter, which authorizes the bank to accept the check. Take our letter, the check, and a copy of the death certificate to the bank.
If your bank still will not accept the check:
Write us a letter and ask for the refund check to be only in your name since your spouse passed away
In the envelope, include:
- The letter
- The original refund check
- Endorse the back of the check: Pay to the order of FTB (don’t write VOID on the check)
- A copy of the death certificate
- Returned Warrant Desk MS F283
Franchise Tax Board
- PO Box 942867
Sacramento CA 94267-0001
Allow at least 8 weeks to receive the new refund check.
Use refund towards your estimated payments
If you haven’t filed your income taxes yet, visit estimated tax payments.
Contact us about refunds
- (800) 852-5711
(916) 845-6500 (outside the U.S.)
Weekdays, 8 AM to 5 PM
- Sign into MyFTB to chat
Weekdays, 8 AM to 5 PM
- Mail - You may send us a letter asking for a status of your refund:
- Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento CA 942840-0040