March 22, 2017

California State Taxes: Last Minute Income Tax Tips from the Tax Attorney

The deadline for California state taxes is on the horizon. If you are still putting together the your California tax filings, these last-minute tax tips could save you money and time!

The biggest thing to remember is the date Tuesday, April 18, 2017. That’s when your 2016 Personal Income Tax returns are due. Because April 15 falls on a Saturday, and Monday April 17th is the federal holiday Emancipation Day, tax day is occurring a little later than usual.

If you can’t file on time, April 18th is also the due date for a California state tax extension. Extensions in California are automatically granted as long as you file by the due date. If you do file for a California state tax extension, you must also remember the date October 16, 2017. That’s when your return will be due.

Now, let’s take a look at some credits for California’s state taxes

With a tax credit, your can claim a specific amount of reduction in the taxes you owe. Credits for California state taxes exist to provide relief for California households that qualify, and so they are relevant only to very specific situations.

Joint custody head of household credit (CA Code 170)

This credit is available if you were unmarried at the and of the taxable year, or if you were married but lived apart from your spouse, and your filing status is married filing separately. It also requires that you paid for more than half the household expenses for the main home for your child at least 146, but no more than 219 days of the tax year. The benefit if you qualify is 30% of your California tax, up to a maximum credit of $440.

Qualified senior head of household credit

If you were 65 or older as of December 31 of the tax year, you can take advantage of this tax credit in California. You must also have a maximum California adjusted gross income (AGI) of $71,370. The benefit for this credit is 2% of your taxable California income, at a maximum of $1,345.

Nonrefundable renter’s credit

If you were a California resident for the entire tax year, and your adjusted gross income is $39,062 or less, you may qualify for the $60 renter’s credit. For those who are married or in a domestic partnership filing jointly, head of household, or as a qualifying widow(er), your adjusted gross income must be $78,125 or less, and your credit would be $120 for your California state taxes.

California’s earned income tax credit

This credit is available to California residents and households based on you federal adjusted gross income (AGI). The credit opportunities are organized into three sections, and each has its own maximum credit:

  • If your AGI is less than $6,718 and there are no qualifying children, you qualify for a maximum credit of $217.
  • If your AGI is less than $10,088, and if there is one qualifying child, you qualify for a maximum credit of $1,452.
  • If your AGI is less than $14,162, and if there are two or more qualifying children, you qualify for a maximum credit of $2,706.

 

Additionally, the California Franchise Tax Board tells us that in order to qualify for the earned income tax credit, “Your investment income, such as interest, dividends, royalties, and capital gains cannot exceed $3,471 for the entire tax year.”

Are you looking for a dependable advocate for your tax needs? Contact the tax specialists at Mendes Weed, LLP.

Christina Weed has worked with clients in San Francisco, the East Bay, and throughout the United States. As a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, Christina offers a unique combined focus on Trusts & EstatesTax LawTax Litigation, and Business Law. Christina is Chair of the Tax Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a member of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided on this page are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information on this website should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.