Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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EFT Basics

You are required to make payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) if:

  • Your average monthly sales and use tax liability equals or exceeds $10,000 over a 12 month period;
  • Your average monthly Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge liability equals or exceeds $20,000; or
  • If your sales and use tax account is required to make EFT payments, your prepaid MTS account should also remit payments by EFT.
  • Your average monthly special taxes and fees liability equals or exceeds $20,000 over a 12 month period.

Yes. If you are not required to make tax or fee payments through EFT, you can choose to make payments by EFT on a voluntary basis.

If you are required to remit payments through EFT and you use another means (check, cash, money order, credit card, etc.), you will be subject to a penalty.

Monthly and quarterly tax or fee returns will be assessed a 10 percent penalty on the taxes or fees due.

Sales and use tax prepayments will be subject to a six percent penalty. Special taxes programs will be assessed a prepayment penalty based on the law governing your specific special taxes program.

ACH Debit – you initiate a payment online or by telephone to authorize the state to debit your account and credit the state's bank account. These transactions are simple and there is no cost to you if you use the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration's (CDTFA) Online Services.  However, please check with your financial institution as they may charge a fee for the actual transfer of funds. ACH debit is the most common payment method, has a very low error rate, and offers the warehousing payment option.

ACH Credit – you instruct your financial institution to debit your account and credit the state's bank account. For this type of transaction you must ensure your financial institution has the ability to send ACH credit transactions in the required format (see CDTFA's ACH Credit Specifications). Your financial institution may charge a fee for ACH credit transactions. You will need to contact them for more information.

ACH Debit – To make ACH debit payments online, you must have internet access. To make ACH debit payments by telephone, no special equipment is needed.

ACH Credit – There may be special hardware and software requirements needed to make ACH credit payments. You will need to contact your financial institution to learn about their requirements.

Information needed to make an EFT payment can be located under our Online Services menu.

If you are making a payment towards your Special Taxes and Fee account (with the exception of a California Tire Fee, an Electronic Waste Recycling Fee, a Cigarette and Tobacco Licensing account, or Cigarette and Tobacco Internet Purchases), and you choose to make your payment by ACH Credit or by going through the state's third party payment processor, First Data, you will need to complete an Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer. Once your Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer form is processed by the CDTFA, you will receive a letter confirming your EFT start date.  We will also provide detailed instructions on how to submit your payment electronically using the payment method you selected.

You can make an EFT payment for returns, prepayments, billings or audits.

If you have transmitted more than the amount due, you may call the section that administers your tax or fee program to obtain instructions for requesting a refund or you may apply the overpayment to different reporting period.

For Sales and Use Tax, Lumber Assessment, and Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge, contact the EFT helpline at (916) 327-4229, Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

For Special Taxes and Fees, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

Filing Returns

Whether you choose the ACH debit or ACH credit method, you must continue to file your tax returns on or before the tax due date. The reporting due dates and filing requirements have not changed.

If you have a sales and use tax account and file on a quarterly prepayment basis, you are only required to make an electronic payment.  Paper prepayment forms are no longer provided and should not be submitted. Your electronic payment will fulfill your prepayment requirement.

Some special taxes accounts are still required to file prepayment forms, if they file on a prepayment basis.

Simply contact your financial institution to have them initiate your prepayment using the correct ACH Credit Specifications. You do not need to file a prepayment online or send a form to the CDTFA.

Depending on your type of business, the CDTFA offers convenient online filing services for eligible accounts.

ACH Debit

  • If you submit your payment online directly through CDTFA and owe no taxes or fees for the prepayment period, you will need to contact the section that administers your account for further instructions.

    For Sales and Use Tax, Lumber Assessment, and Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge, contact the EFT helpline at (916) 327-4229, Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

    For Special Taxes and Fees, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.
  • If you use the state's third party payment processor, First Data you can submit a zero dollar amount transaction.

ACH Credit

If you use the ACH credit method for making payments and owe no taxes for the reporting period, you must still contact your financial institution and have them make a zero dollar transaction. If your financial institution cannot initiate a zero dollar transaction, call the section that administers your account for further instructions.

For Sales and Use Tax, Lumber Assessment, and Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge, contact the EFT helpline at (916) 327-4229, Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

For Special Taxes and Fees, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

Deadline Information

If you are required to make your payment by EFT, all electronic payments made by any of the payment methods described below must settle (be deposited) into the state's bank account one banking day following the due date to be considered timely. Depending on what method you use, there is a cutoff for making a timely payment.

  • ACH Debit – If you submit your payment online directly through CDTFA, you must complete your transaction by the due date. If you pay online on the due date, your transaction must be completed by 3:00 p.m. Pacific time, to ensure your funds settle into the state's bank account by the next banking day.
  • Third Party Vendor – If you submit your payment through the state's third party payment processor, First Data, and it is the due date, you must complete your transaction by 3:00 p.m. Pacific time, and select the next banking day as your debit date.
  • ACH Credit – You must contact your financial institution to determine when to initiate your payment so that your payment settles into the state's bank account no later than the first banking day following the due date.

Yes. You can warehouse your payment for a future date, up to the due date of the return, when paying by ACH debit.

If you make your ACH debit payment through the state's third party payment processor, First Data, you can designate any banking day as a debit date (up to ninety [90]) days in advance of the due date. You should not select a debit date beyond one banking day following the due date. The debit date is the date your payment transfers from your bank account to the CDTFA's bank account. Payments that are debited more than one day following the due date are subject to penalty and/or interest charges.

Yes. Payments that are received after the due date are subject to interest and/or penalties. A penalty of 10 percent (6 percent for prepayments) of the tax is imposed on amounts received after the due date. Interest is also due for each month or fraction of a month the tax payment is late. Therefore, if your payment is only one day late, an entire month's interest will be imposed. However, if your payment is only one day late, you may be eligible to have the interest charge reduced to a daily interest rather than a full month of interest if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The payment of the tax or prepayment was made electronically.
  • The payment of the tax or prepayment was made one day after the due date.
  • You were granted relief from all penalties that applied to your late payment of tax or prepayment.
  • You file a request for an oral hearing before the CDTFA.

For more information on one day late, visit our website and follow the instructions on form, CDTFA-734, Request for Interest Adjustment Electronic Payments – One Day Late.

Banking days are days the Federal Reserve banks are open. They are open Monday through Friday, except for the following dates:

New Year's Day – January 1 *
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
Presidents Day (third Monday in February)
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day -July 4 *
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
Veterans Day – November 11 *
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas Day – December 25 *

*If this day falls on a Sunday, the banks are closed the following Monday

If a tax or fee due date falls on a weekend or holiday (national or State of California), the payment is due on the first business day following the weekend or holiday. For example, if the tax or fee due date is January 31 and that date falls on a Saturday, the tax or fee due date will become Monday, February 2 and the funds must settle into the CDTFA's bank account by February 3.

Holidays recognized by the State of California:

New Year's Day – January 1 *
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
Presidents Day third Monday in February)
Cesar Chavez Day – March 31 *
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day – July 4 *
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Veterans Day – November 11 *
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November **)
Day after Thanksgiving – Friday after Thanksgiving **
Christmas Day – December 25 *

* If this date falls on a Sunday, the holiday is observed on the following Monday.
** If the tax due date falls on Thanksgiving Day or the day after, the tax due date will move to the following Monday. In addition, if the due date falls on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the payment must settle into the CDTFA's account by the day after Thanksgiving.

EFT Resources

Yes.  You can switch your payment method between the ACH Debit or ACH Credit method when making your EFT payment.  No prior authorization is required with CDTFA except for the programs described below. You will need to contact your financial institution regarding their requirements.

If you are making a payment towards your Special Taxes and Fee account (with the exception of a California Tire Fee, an Electronic Waste Recycling Fee, a Cigarette and Tobacco Licensing account, or Cigarette and Tobacco Internet Purchases), you will need to complete an Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer form to change your method of payment from either paying by ACH Credit or by making your payment through the state's third party payment processor, First Data. If you are submitting your payment online through the CDTFA, you do not need to complete the Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer form.

If you are making your EFT payment by ACH debit or ACH credit, you do not need to notify the CDTFA of the change.  However, if you are making your payment by ACH credit, you will need to contact your new financial institution to verify their ability to originate an ACH credit transaction in the required record formats.  You will also need to provide CDTFA's bank account and routing number information.

For Special Taxes and Fee account (with the exception of a California Tire Fee, an Electronic Waste Recycling Fee, a Cigarette and Tobacco Licensing account, or Cigarette and Tobacco Internet Purchases), you will need to complete an Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer form to change your method of payment from either paying by ACH Credit or by making your payment through the state's third party payment processor, First Data.  If you are submitting your payment online through the CDTFA, you do not need to complete the Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer form.

If you have an ACH Debit block on your bank account, you must inform your financial institution of the CDTFA's Company Identification Number to avoid your payment from being rejected. The Company Identification Number is a 10-digit number used to identify an originator of the transaction.

For payments made through CDTFA's Online Services, the Company Identification number is: 2822162215

For payments made through the state's third party payment processor, First Data, the Company Identification number is: 1822162215

The 10-digit Company Identification numbers listed above apply only to the account types listed below:

  • Sales and Use Tax
  • Lumber Assessment
  • Prepaid Mobile Telephony Service (MTS) Surcharge
  • Consumer Use Tax
  • Customs Imports
  • Motor Vehicle Pre-Collection
  • Cigarette and Tobacco Retailer License
  • Cigarette and Tobacco Internet Purchaser Program
  • California Tire Fee
  • e-Waste Recycling Fee

For all other CDTFA accounts, the Company Identification number is: 1282435088

ACH debit payments can only be initiated by you or your authorized personnel. ACH credit payments are initiated only by you through your financial institution.

If you experience any problems making an EFT payment, you may call the appropriate section listed below that administers your account.

For Sales and Use Tax, Lumber Assessment, and Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge, contact the EFT helpline at (916) 327-4229, Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

For Special Taxes and Fees, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.