Withholding Taxes: California

This item is part of Withholding Taxes.

The below content should be reviewed in conjunction with the in-depth federal coverage of this topic provided above.

Author: Vicki M. Lambert, The Payroll Advisor

Summary

  • Whether an employee is a resident or nonresident of California determines whether the employee is subject to income tax withholding in the state. Different income tax withholding rules apply when a California resident works in another state, when a nonresident works in California, and when an expatriate works abroad. See Withholding on Residents, Nonresidents and Expatriates.
  • An IRS Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, is normally used for California personal income tax (PIT) withholding. However, if an employee wants to claim a different marital status and/or a different number of allowances than are claimed for federal withholding purposes, the employee must file California Form, DE 4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. See Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate.
  • Withholding on supplemental wage payments, such as bonuses, is calculated differently depending on whether or not the payments are made simultaneously with regular wages. See Supplemental Wages.
  • Employers are required to provide certain information to employees on an annual basis. California employers must provide IRS Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to current employees by January 31 of each year. In addition, certain employers are required to provide employees with a federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) notice. See Form W-2 Requirements; Earned Income Tax Credit Notices.
  • Employers must keep the same records for state income tax purposes as is required to be kept for federal income tax purposes, and have them available for review by the DOTF. See Recordkeeping Requirements.
  • Certain California employers are subject to local payroll taxes in addition to state payroll taxes. They may be subject to the Employment Training Tax, the San Francisco Payroll Expense Tax, and the Gross Receipts Tax starting in 2014. See Local Payroll Taxes.