California Tax Forms Not Ready? What to Do

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If you’re seeing your California tax forms are not ready, here’s what you can do.

Why are my California tax forms not ready?

When tax season starts, there’s often a last-minute rush for the IRS and each state to finalize their tax forms and open their e-filing systems.

In addition, tax software companies have to update their systems for any last-minute changes or updates to tax forms.

If your tax software tells you your California tax forms aren’t ready, it could be one of three things:

  • California hasn’t finished updating its forms with the current tax brackets, other numbers, and last minute tax changes
  • California hasn’t opened up e-filing yet
  • Your tax filing software was waiting for California to do something and needs a little more time to get ready

Can you file your federal taxes if your California tax forms aren’t ready?

It depends on why your California tax forms aren’t ready.

You need to know your California taxes owed before you can file your federal taxes if you plan on deducting your state taxes as an itemized deduction. If changes to California tax forms could change what you owe California, you shouldn’t file your federal taxes yet.

You may be able to file your federal tax return before your California tax forms are ready if:

  • You know you’ll use the federal standard deduction and won’t itemize state taxes
  • You know the potential changes to California tax forms won’t change what you owe California
  • You’re only waiting for California filing to open

Some tax preparation software will block you from filing anyway. It’s up to you if you want to file a paper return or use other software that doesn’t block you.

What happens if I print my California tax return and mail it?

If you decide to print your California tax return and mail it while your online tax software still says your forms aren’t ready, there are three things that can happen.

  • Your taxes are fine
  • You have incorrect tax forms and California rejects your tax return
  • Your tax owed is incorrect and you may have to pay a penalty

How long will it take California tax forms to be ready?

The start of tax season is rarely an exact date. Filing often starts a few days early. Sometimes, there are last-minute delays to the official start.

You’ll usually be able to file sometime in the second half of January.

How long will it take to get my California refund?

California says it usually takes three weeks to process an e-file return and up to one month to issue a refund.

Paper returns take four weeks to process, and then refunds can take up to four months.

Amended returns take up to five months to process.

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