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Relief & Extensions for Filing Returns

Video: Additional Relief for Business Taxpayers

Returns due between December 15, 2020, and April 30, 2021, for all but the largest taxpayers, will be extended. Generally, taxpayers reporting less than $1 million in tax on a return originally due during this time frame are not required to seek an extension from CDTFA; relief will be provided automatically. Additionally, for these taxpayers, 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. Please see our sales and use tax and special taxes and fees return extension due date page.

Taxpayers can also log into their account and see their return due dates. If the due date of a return was not automatically extended, and it is under $1 million in tax, please visit our Online Services to submit a request for relief from interest and penalty. The Submit a Relief Request option is located under the I Want To section, More subsection. Select the Submit a Relief Request link and follow the prompts.

Due Dates for Quarterly Filers

Fourth quarter 2020 and first quarter 2021 returns, for all but the largest taxpayers, will be extended and are now due April 30, 2021, and August 02, 2021, respectively. For taxpayers required to make monthly prepayments against their fourth quarter tax and fee obligations, the October prepayment remains due on November 24, 2020. The November prepayment that is normally due on December 24 is now due on March 24, 2021.

Due Dates for Calendar Year Annual Filers

Annual filers scheduled to file returns in January 2021 or April 2021, the filing deadlines will be extended and are now due April 30, 2021, and July 15, 2021, respectively.

Due Dates for Monthly Filers

Return due dates for taxpayers reporting less than $1 million in tax on their return that file on a monthly basis with an original due date between December 15, 2020, and April 30, 2021, have been extended for three months. Interest and penalties will not accrue provided the returns are filed and amounts due are paid 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. The due date for monthly filers' October 2020 return remains November 30, 2020.

Requests for Relief for Larger Taxpayers

Taxpayers with a liability of $1 million or more must 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 taxpayers will be notified if their extension has been approved or denied.

Do I receive an extension if I am a used vehicle dealer and/or vehicle auction house and my filing frequency is changing to a monthly reporting basis on January 1, 2021?

Yes, a CDTFA extension will be provided if you are reporting less than $1million in tax on a return originally due during this time. Please note: Dealers required to remit sales tax to Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) starting January 1, 2020, must continue to pay tax to DMV with your vehicle registration application within 30 days from the date of sale of the vehicle, even if you qualify for an extension to file your returns with CDTFA.

Will I receive a filing extension on my International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) return filing?

IFTA returns will not receive an automatic extension for filing a return. Taxpayers must 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 taxpayers will be notified if their extension has been approved or denied.

Small Business Relief Payment Plans for Sales and Use Tax

Accepting New Payment Plans Soon

Effective December 15, 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 April 30, 2022, to qualify for zero interest. Businesses with $5 million or more in annual taxable sales in sectors particularly impacted by operational restrictions due to the pandemic may also apply for this 12-month interest-free payment plan. Please note: This relief only applies to sales and use tax due on returns with original due dates between December 15, 2020 and April 30, 2021. A business that previously took advantage of the 12-month, interest-free payment plan that must be paid in full by July 31, 2021, may also request to participate in this new 12-month interest-free payment plan.

When the application period opens, payment plan requests must 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).

Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except state holidays.

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 December 15, 2020 and April 30, 2021
  • 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 December 15, 2020 and April 30, 2021, 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.

Main Street Small Business Tax Credit

Credits Going Fast – Apply Today!

Beginning December 1, 2020 and continuing through January 15, 2021, CDTFA is accepting applications, through its online reservation system, for qualified small business owners to reserve up to a $100,000 hiring tax credit. The small business hiring tax credit provides a credit that a small business employer can use to offset their income taxes or their sales and use taxes when filing their tax returns. The tentative credit reservation is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Within 30 days of receiving an application, CDTFA will notify each applicant via email whether a tentative credit reservation has been allocated to them and the amount. To learn more about qualifications and how to apply, view the Frequently Asked Questions.

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

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