Filing a State Income Tax Return

The State of California (through the Franchise Tax Board) requires an annual report of income, and assesses tax on the same type of income that is taxed by the federal government. However, unlike the federal government, California does not require an annual tax report from those who made less than the minimum filing requirement or had no income at all. Individuals who earned less than the minimum filing requirement do not have to file. Visit the Filing Requirements section of the California Franchise Tax Board for more information.

If you do not have a filing requirement but had state taxes withheld from your income, you will need to file a California tax return in order to receive any refund.

If you made income in another state and would like to know about that state's filing requirements, please click here.

Workshop: Intro to California Taxes

A member of the California Franchise Tax Board will present these workshops to assist you with filing any required state tax forms. We recommend completing your federal tax return before attending one of these workshops. Students or scholars who are considered nonresidents for California state tax filing will complete and file California Tax Form 540NR; those who are considered residents for California state tax filing will complete and file California Tax Form 540.

View or download the workshop slides here

Resources – California Franchise Tax Board Website

Part-year resident and nonresident – Information from our CA Franchise Tax Board

540NR Booklet – Tax Return Forms and Instructions

540NR - California Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return (fillable) – Tax Return

540 NR California Adjustments — Nonresidents or Part-Year Residents (fillable) – Schedule to determine Total Income and Deductions and California Source Income and Deductions

Residency and Sourcing Technical Manual


IRS Publication 4011 – Foreign Student and Scholar Resource Guide