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:  CA State Taxes

Berkeley International Office will host California State Tax workshops in March/April 2020; click here for more information. 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.

See Tax Workshops and Webinars.

Resources – California Franchise Tax Board Website

2019 State tax filing Q&A - California Franchise Tax Board

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