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How do I figure my estimated tax payments?

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When figuring your required estimated tax payments, you must pay the lesser of 100 percent of last year's tax or 90 percent of your current year's tax. However, a high income individual must base their estimate tax payments on the following applicable percentages.

If adjusted gross income is more than $150,000 ($75,000 if married filing a separate return) in the prior tax year:

  • The required payment is the lesser of 90 percent of their tax for 2014 or 110 percent of their tax for 2013.

If adjusted gross income is $1 million or more ($500,000 if married filing a separate return) in the current tax year:

  • The required payment is 90 percent of their tax for 2014.

This rule does not apply to farmers or fishermen.

Important: California differs from federal To avoid an estimate penalty, you must pay at least:

  • 30 percent First quarter (April 15)
  • 40 percent Second quarter (June 15)
  • 0 percent Third quarter (September 15)
  • 30 percent Fourth quarter (January 15)

Please use the California Estimated Tax Worksheet in the Instructions for Form 540-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals (540ES Form Instructions) to figure your estimated tax payments.

Use Form 540-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, to pay your estimated tax installments.