California State Tax refund • How to request it

When the filing season arrives, we can feel overwhelmed by everything we have to do in order to comply with our tax liabilities and also, the fear of making an error in the calculations and paying less than we should or even exceeding the corresponding payment. When this happens, we tend to think that we have lost our money, but this is not the case.

With both federal and state taxes, you can request a tax refund. However, each state has its regulations. In this article, you will find information about California State Tax Refund.

The way to request it is much simpler than it sounds, you just have to fill out a form and wait for it to be processed by the Department of Revenue.

What is a tax refund?

california tax refund sample

Before explaining specifically what the process is like for California State Tax Refunds, it is important that you first ask yourself: what is a tax refund and how does it work?

In simple words, a tax refund is a refund made by the government (it can be the IRS or state departments) to taxpayers when they have paid more money than they were due on their tax return. For instance: a self-employed citizen makes an incorrect estimate of the amount he must pay (let’s say he has to pay $ 3,500.00) and the payment made to the IRS was $ 4,000.00. Upon realizing this, he decides to file a refund return for the excess amount paid.

It’s worth noting that, even though this is a great alternative, you must not take your tax return carelessly. If you are an employee, when completing your W-4 form, write all the information carefully so that your employer will make the withholdings correctly, without deducting more than he should.

This way, at the end of the fiscal year, you will only have deducted what is necessary and you will not have lost money in vain (even if you can have it reimbursed later).

What do I need to file a California State Tax refund?

In many states it is not necessary for the taxpayer to indicate the exact amount of the refund; making an estimate and rounding the amount is sufficient. But in the State of California, it is necessary for taxpayers to indicate the exact amount owed to them in order to apply.

Besides the exact amount, the only data you need is your Social Security Number, the numbers in your mailing address, and your zip code.

Once you have your data, you can do it in two ways: online (e-file) on the State of California, Franchise Tax Board page, or if you feel more comfortable doing it on paper, you can do so as well.

After that, you can check the status of your refund online on this page.

California check your refund status

How long does it take to receive my refund?

Depending on the method you have used, the waiting time to receive the refund may vary.

If you completed the application through the internet, the surest thing is that you will receive the refund in an estimated time of 2 weeks. Now, if you did it on paper, you will have to wait up to 3 months to receive the money.

In the case of businesses, the waiting time is a little longer. Companies must wait approximately 5 months for their tax refund to be processed successfully.

Regarding the amended returns, both for individuals and businesses, the time to receive the refund is up to 4 months after filing.

READ MORE: How much is income taxes in California

What if I receive a different refund amount?

On some occasions, it may happen that you receive more or less money than you expected to receive when filling out your California State tax refund. This is because the authorities made changes to your tax returns or used that money to pay past-due state debts (and that you probably didn’t know you had).

Changes to your tax return may be due to the fact that the information in your tax refund does not match the records or you do not qualify for a tax credit. It could also be because they deducted money from your refund to pay off an overdue debt.

However, if this happens, the Franchise Tax Board will send you a letter explaining the reasons your tax return was changed.