Where’s My Refund? What California Taxpayers Need To Know

African Professional Chartered Accountant Woman Doing Tax.
AndreyPopov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The 2022 tax deadline of April 18, 2023, is fast approaching, and you may be concerned about filing your taxes on time. However, once you file, the greater concern becomes this: “Where’s my refund?” California tax refund timelines depend on your tax return filing type, possible delays and how you receive your refund. This quick guide explains when to expect your refund, how to track it and why it could be delayed or changed.

Where’s My Refund? California Tax Refund Timelines

Knowing when to expect your refund and how to track its status can help make you more aware of any problems or delays with your refund.

How Long Do California State Tax Refunds Take?

Per the State of California Franchise Tax Board, you can expect your 2022 California refund as follows:

  • Within three weeks for personal returns filed electronically
  • Within three months for mailed personal returns
  • Within five months for electronically filed business returns
  • Within six months for mailed business returns

How Do I Track My California Tax Refund?

You can easily track your refund status through the FTB’s “Check Your Refund” feature. You’ll need to submit the following information:

  • ZIP code
  • Number in your mailing address, if applicable
  • Precise refund amount expected
  • Social Security number

Why Is My California Refund Taking So Long?

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

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Missing Refunds

If the FTB “Check Your Refund” tool shows that your refund was processed and you have yet to receive it, or your paper check was lost or damaged, you can contact the FTB by phone at 800-852-5711 or via the chat feature through your MyFTB account, if you created one.

Phone and chat customer service hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

Can California State Tax Refunds Change?

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

The FTB can change an expected refund under specific conditions. In the event of a refund change, you 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:

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

Debts to the state of California include:

  • Court-ordered
  • Child support
  • Vehicle registration collections


When you’re filing your California tax return, there’s no need to wonder, “Where’s my refund?” California taxpayers can easily track their refunds on the FTB’s website.

The best way to ensure you receive your refund as quickly as possible is to verify that all the information you included on your tax return is accurate and complete. Also, you should file your return and receive your refund electronically rather than relying on the Postal Service.

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Andrea Norris contributed to the reporting for this article.

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