Where’s My Refund? California (CA)

African Professional Chartered Accountant Woman Doing Tax.
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The 2021 tax deadline of April 18, 2022 is fast approaching, and Californians may be concerned about getting their taxes filed on time. Soon after filing may come the questions about when to expect state refunds to arrive or why the refund is delayed. The answers depend much on the tax return filing type, factors that cause delays and the filer’s method of choice to receive refunds.  

When Will State Refunds Arrive for Californians?

Per California’s Franchise Tax Board, taxpayers who electronically file their personal returns can expect their refund within three weeks, while those who mail in their personal tax returns can wait up to three months. 

Both electronically filed and mailed business returns can take up to six months to see a refund. 

What Causes California State Refunds To Be Delayed? 

Some California state tax returns for extra review, leading to longer processing times. The FTB needs to review more complex returns for:

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Fraud protection
  • Identity Theft

The expected wait time for refunds on personal returns filed electronically and mailed is one month and four months, respectively. 

Good To Know

The FTB allows an automatic tax-filing extension with no form required. Although payment is still required by April 18, 2022, Californians can have until October 17, 2022 to file.

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Can California State Refunds Change?

While most people can get an estimate of their state tax refund upon filing their returns, there are reasons why Californians may find a different amount when it actually arrives. 

The FTB can change an expected refund under specific conditions. In the event of a refund change, California taxpayers will receive a “Notice of Tax Return Change” detailing the reasons for the change and the new refund amount. 

Reasons for state refund changes include:

  • Payment or withholdings do not match state records.
  • The filer doesn’t qualify for a tax credit they claimed.
  • The refund was used to pay off a previous tax debt.

Debts to the state of California include: 

  • Court-ordered
  • Child support
  • Vehicle registration collections

Does California Provide Ways To Track Refunds?

Californians can easily track their refund status through the FTB’s “Check Your Refund” feature. Taxpayers need to input the following information: 

  • Zip Code
  • Number in the mailing address, if applicable 
  • Precise refund amount expected
  • Social Security Number

How Can Californians Receive Their Refunds?

Like federal refunds, taxpayers in California can opt for direct deposit by selecting this option on tax preparation software or paper filing forms. Taxpayers just need to provide their checking account number and routing number. 

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On the other hand, some people may prefer the U.S. mail option for their refund, and, therefore, the state will mail the check.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Moubin Ghafoory is a freelance content writer who formerly worked for a prominent digital marketing firm. Writing is his profession and his passion, and in his off time, he studies and practices writing fiction. He lives in Northern Virginia and drinks coffee by the gallon.
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