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Relief & Extensions for Filing Returns

Video Update: Additional Relief for Business Taxpayers.

Due Dates for Quarterly Filers

First quarter 2020 returns, for all but the largest taxpayers, were extended and are now due July 31, 2020. Tax returns for the second quarter, running from April through June 2020, remain due on July 31, 2020. For sales and use taxpayers required to make monthly prepayments against their second quarter sales and use tax obligations, prepayments remain due on May 26, 2020, and June 24, 2020. Please see our sales and use tax and special taxes and fees return due dates pages.

Please note, for taxpayers reporting less than $1 million in tax on a return originally due through July 31, 2020, interest and penalties will not accrue on return amounts or prepayments due, provided payments are made and returns are filed within three months of the original due date. Taxpayers below the $1 million threshold are not required to seek an extension from CDTFA; relief will be provided automatically.

Due Dates for Fiscal Year Annual Filers

For annual filers scheduled to file returns in July, the filing deadline of July 31, 2020, remains in effect. For taxpayers reporting less than $1 million in tax on a return originally due July 31, 2020, interest and penalties will not accrue on return amounts due, provided payments are made and returns are filed within three months of the original due date. Taxpayers below the $1 million threshold are not required to seek an extension from CDTFA; relief will be provided automatically.

Due Dates for Monthly Filers

April and May 2020 return due dates for taxpayers reporting less than $1 million in tax on the return, have been extended for three months. Interest and penalties will not accrue provided the returns are filed and amounts due are paid by August 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, respectively. The due date for monthly filers' June return remains July 31, 2020.

Please note, for taxpayers reporting less than $1 million in tax on their return originally due July 31, 2020, interest and penalties will not accrue on return amounts due provided payments are made and returns are filed within three months of the original due date. Taxpayers below the $1 million threshold are not required to seek an extension from CDTFA; relief will be provided automatically.

Requests for Relief for Larger Taxpayers

Taxpayers with a liability of $1 million or more may still request an extension if they are unable to file and pay by their due date. These requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and they will be notified if their extension has been approved or denied.

For taxpayers required to request an extension, please follow the directions below

You may request relief of interest or penalties or request an extension for filing a return utilizing our online services.

Log in to your online services account using your username and password. Please Note: You cannot request relief using a limited access code. If you need help logging in, please watch one of our video tutorials or call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711).

Once you are logged in, please follow the steps below:

  1. Select the account you would like to request an extension for below Accounts.
  2. Select Request a Filing Extension located below I Want To.
  3. Select the A disaster occurred, such as a fire, flood, storm, tidal wave, earthquake, or similar public calamity, whether or not resulting from natural causes, which has prevented the timely filing or payment option.
  4. Complete the form.

Currently, we are receiving a high volume of requests. We will notify you when your request is processed.

Small Business Relief Payment Plans for Sales and Use Tax

Effective April 2, 2020, small business taxpayers with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales, can take advantage of a 12-month, interest-free, payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability only. All payment plans must be paid in full by July 31, 2021, to qualify for zero interest. Please note, this relief only applies to sales and use tax due on returns with original due dates between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

Payment plan requests can now be made through our online services system. The small business relief payment plan application will be available for you one business day after you file your return(s). You must log into your online services account using your username and password to make the request. Once logged in, select the appropriate sales and use tax account, then select "Request an Interest Deferred Payment Plan" under the "I Want To" section to begin your request. If you need help logging in, please watch one of our video tutorials or call our customer service center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711).

Is a similar plan available for special tax and fee accounts?

No. The program is only available for sales and use tax liabilities.

How do I know if I qualify?

You generally will qualify for this program if:

  • You have less than $5 million in annual taxable sales
  • The liabilities included in the program were for sales and use tax returns originally due between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020
  • Your seller's permit is not revoked
  • You are not under any active collection actions
  • You are not in an active bankruptcy or have been discharged from bankruptcy
  • You are not on an approved offer in compromise
  • You are not on the list of the Top 500 Sales and Use Tax Debtors

Is there a limit to how much can be included in an interest-free payment plan?

The maximum amount of sales and use tax due that may be included in this program is $50,000.

What if I owe more than the $50,000 limit?

The maximum amount that any taxpayer can defer, interest-free, under this payment plan is $50,000. If you owe more than $50,000 and need a payment plan, separate arrangements must be made for the amount over $50,000. Your options are to either pay down the liability so the amount outstanding is $50,000 or enter into a separate penalty and interest accruing plan for the amount above $50,000.

What if I have more than one period that qualifies for the program?

You may include multiple periods in the interest-free payment plan provided the other qualifying conditions are met, the period due dates were between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020, and the amount included in the plan does not exceed $50,000. If multiple periods will be included in the interest-free payment plan, we recommend that you file all such returns prior to applying.

How will the payment plans work?

Qualifying taxpayers will pay their sales and use tax due in 12 or fewer equal monthly installments. Interest and penalties will not be assessed against the liability, or, depending upon the plan details, the interest and penalties will be adjusted at the conclusion of the payment plan.

What are my payment options?

Payments must be made by ACH Debit or credit card. ACH Debit payments allow funds to be electronically withdrawn from your bank account using your bank routing number and account number. You may not make payments via check or money order.

Credit card payments will be assessed a service fee of 2.3% of the transaction amount by the credit card processing vendor. This service fee is retained by the vendor and is not revenue to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). The minimum service fee is $1.00.

Can I pay my balance off sooner than the one-year timeframe?

Yes. Simply click on the Make a Payment/Prepayment button at the top of our home page on our website, and follow the prompts.

How do I enroll?

The small business relief payment plan request will be available one business day after you file your return(s). You must log into your online services account using your username and password to make the request. Once logged in, select the appropriate sales and use tax account, then select Request an Interest Deferred Payment Plan under the I Want To section to begin your request. The request cannot be made using a limited access code. If you need help logging in, please view one of our video tutorials or call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711).

I meet the program qualifications and filed my returns, but I am unable to apply for the program.

It can take up to 24 hours for a return to post to our system. Please allow one business day for your return to post before submitting your interest-free payment plan application. If you still experience problems, please contact your local office or our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711). Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time) except state holidays.

What if I am currently in a payment plan for other periods? Do I still qualify for this program?

You can still qualify for this program if the $50,000 tax liability was for sales and use tax returns originally due between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020. The payments previously agreed to for your existing payment plan will continue to be due. If making these payments, in addition to the payments for the small business relief payment plan, cause a hardship, please contact your local office to discuss your options.

What if I cannot make my payment one month? Can I "double up" the next month to stay on the plan?

Contact us immediately as soon as you know you will not be able to make a payment under your plan, so that we can work with you to keep your plan current. You may be subject to interest charges and collection action on the remaining balance if you default.

What if I apply and am denied? Is there a way to appeal the decision?

You can select an office location nearest you and call the main number where representatives are waiting to assist you with your interest-free payment plan request. Alternatively, you may call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711) and ask to be transferred to the office nearest you for assistance.

Extensions for Filing a Claim for Refund or a Tax Appeal

Taxpayers who have overpaid taxes may file a claim for refund. Through July 31, 2020, the statute of limitations period for filing a claim for refund has been extended by 60-days beyond the normal due date.

Taxpayers who dispute a tax or fee liability may request their case be heard by the Office of Tax Appeals. Taxpayers typically have a 30-day window in which they may request an appeal with the Office of Tax Appeals. Through July 31, 2020, this period has been extended by 60 days, therefore, taxpayers now have a 90-day period to request an appeal with the Office of Tax Appeals.

Public Counters at CDTFA Field and Motor Carrier Offices Accessible by Appointment

To protect public health, the Public Counters in our local field and motor carrier offices are accessible by appointment. We are also providing services via phone, video, mail, and online. Here are the many ways to reach us directly:

Will CDTFA provide in-person services during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If you have a specific in-person need, certain services will be made available by appointment only. Please visit our contact page to find your office email or phone number to request assistance.

What if I want to make a tax payment at a local office?

If you need to make a tax payment at your local office please contact us to discuss the availability for an appointment.

What if I need to make a same-day payment at my local office?

You can send your payment to the address below. During this time, you will not be charged penalties or interest for late payments.

Please write your CDTFA account number and return filing period on your check or money order.

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
PO Box 942879
Sacramento CA 94279-3535

General COVID-19 FAQ

Yes. A seller’s permit allows you to sell items ordinarily subject to tax in California. Depending on what type of products you begin to sell, you may need to register for other licenses as well. If you are selling products from a different business location, you will need to update your registration information for your seller’s permit to include your new location. You may visit our Permits & Licenses webpage for additional information.

No. In general, sales of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, are not exempt from tax. Please note, the sales and use tax exemption specified in Governor Newsom’s April 7, 2020, Executive Order for certain sales and purchases of PPE is limited to a coordinated, centralized purchase by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

No, the retail sale of diagnostic test kits is generally subject to sales or use tax. There are no specific exemptions for the sales of these items.

Yes, if you donate your resale inventory to a business rather than a qualified organization, you will owe use tax. Generally, the donation of property constitutes a use of the property. If the property was purchased under a valid resale certificate, use tax is due on the cost of the property that is donated. However, if resale inventory is donated to certain qualified organizations, use tax does not apply provided the property was not purchased specifically for the purpose of donation. A qualified organization is an organization that is described in Section 170(b)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code and generally includes religious organizations, charitable organizations, and the State of California. Please see Regulation 1669 for additional information.

Yes, a surcharge, whether it is a flat fee or a percentage of the selling price, is generally subject to tax when separately added to a taxable sale, unless a specific exemption or exclusion applies. Tax is applied to the total selling price, including the surcharge. Below illustrates the computation of sales tax on a taxable sale that includes an added surcharge. The example assumes an 8.75 percent sales tax rate (actual rate may differ):

Example

Item A
$ 8.95
Item B
7.50
Item C
10.00
Subtotal
$26.45
Surcharge (5%)
1.32
Total sale
$27.77
Sales tax [8.75% × 27.77]
2.43
Total due
$30.20