Incorporating Individual e-file Into Your Office

Frequently asked questions

In meeting with various tax professionals, we identified the most frequent questions we are asked. If you have a question that is not answered here, click here to send us your question. We will respond within 24-48 hours.

You also may want to reference the following e-file publications:

  • Handbook for Authorized e-file Providers- FTB 1345

Signature Questions

  1. Can I accept faxed copies of the California e-file Return Authorization form (FTB 8453) or the California e-file Signature Authorization form (FTB 8879), from the taxpayer?

  2. Can my client sign form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879 before I prepare the tax return?

  3. Must both the taxpayer and spouse sign the form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879?

  4. Do I send the form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879 to the FTB?

  5. Does my client or I need to sign a separate authorization form if they use the Self-Select PIN Method to electronically sign their return?

e-filing supporting documents

  1. How do I e-file supporting documents, such as gain and loss transactions or other explanations that I usually attach to my paper returns?

  2. Does it take longer to get an acknowledgement for e-filed returns that have many attachments or explanations?

  3. My clients have hundreds of transactions to report, such as stock-related gains and losses. Do I have to enter all the data and e-file it?

e-file general filing questions

  1. If I need to amend a return that I already e-filed, can I e-file an amended return?

  2. Can I e-file returns for clients who have IRS issued ITINs (Income Tax Identification Numbers)?

  3. If my client's return is rejected, do they need to sign a new California e-file Return Authorization form (FTB 8453) or California e-file Signature Authorization form (FTB 8879) after I correct the error?

  4. If I file a return on April 15th, and it is rejected, how many days do I have to correct and retransmit the return before it is considered late and subject to late filing penalties, etc?

  5. How often does FTB process DDR requests?

  6. If I e-file and my client has a balance due, do they have to pay their balance due electronically, through electronic funds withdrawal (EFW)?

  7. If my client has a refund, do they have to use direct deposit (DDR)?

Signature questions

  1. Can I accept faxed copies of the e-file Return Authorization Form (FTB 8453) or the e-file Signature Authorization Form (FTB 8879) from the taxpayer?

    Yes. The exchange and retention of faxed forms from your client, including the signed form FTB 8453 and form FTB 8879 is acceptable. This applies to the IRS as well.

  2. Can my client sign form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879 before I prepare the tax return?

    No. You and your client must sign form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879 after the return has been prepared but before it is transmitted (e-filed). Signing the form before preparing the return would be like signing a blank paper return.

  3. Must both the taxpayer and spouse sign the form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879?

    Yes. If they are filing Married Filing Jointly, both must sign the FTB 8453 or FTB 8879.

  4. Do I send the form FTB 8453 or form FTB 8879 to the FTB?

    No. You retain it along with the other copies of your clients return documents for four years after the due date of the return or four years from the date the return is e-filed, whichever is later. EROs may electronically image and store all paper records they are required to retain for FTB and IRS e-file (See Rev. Proc. 97-22).

  5. Does my client or I need to sign a separate authorization form if they use the Self-Select PIN Method to electronically sign their return?

    No.  The Self- Select PIN Method does not require you or your client to sign a separate form.

e-filing supporting documents

  1. How do I e-file supporting documents, like gain and loss transactions or other explanations that I usually attach to my paper returns?

    Your software will provide the ability for you to enter supporting information that will transmit along with the rest of your e-file return.

  2. Does it take longer to get an acknowledgement for e-filed returns that have many attachments or explanations?

    No. It does not take any longer to process these returns through e-file. You should expect an acknowledgment in the normal 24-48 hour window.

  3. My clients have hundreds of transactions to report, such as stock-related gains and losses. Do I have to enter all the data and e-file it?

    Yes. We encourage you to provide as much information as possible to reduce the potential for contact from us later.

e-file general filing questions

  1. If I need to amend a return that I already e-filed, can I e-file an amended return?

    No. We do not accept amended returns through e-file. If you need to amend an e-filed return, file an amended return (Form 540X) on paper.

  2. Can I e-file returns for clients who have IRS issued ITINs (Income Tax Identification Numbers)?

    Yes. We will accept returns for clients who have IRS issued ITINs. Submit the information as shown on the documentation (e.g., W-2s, 1099s, etc.).

  3. If my client's return is rejected, do they need to sign a new California e-file Return Authorization form (FTB 8453) or California e-file Signature Authorization form (FTB 8879) after I correct the error?

    Not necessarily. You need a new signature from your client only if the correction causes the net tax liability to change by more than $25.00.

  4. If I file a return on April 15th, and it is rejected, how many days do I have to correct and retransmit the return before it is considered late and subject to late filing penalties, etc?

    You have five business days to correct and retransmit any timely rejected return before it is considered late. When you correct and retransmit the return within the five business days, we will assign it the file date of the original timely transmission.

  5. How often does FTB process DDR requests?

    We process DDR requests every day. This shortens the time it takes for your client's refund to be deposited into their bank account.

  6. If I e-file and my client has a balance due, do they have to pay their balance due electronically, through electronic funds withdrawal (EFW)?

    No. Although EFW is a convenient way to pay the balance due, your client can wait and pay by paper check on or before April 15th or use other acceptable methods to pay their balance due (credit card, etc.). They need to be sure to pay by April 15th to avoid any penalties or interest.

  7. If my client has a refund, do they have to use direct deposit (DDR)?

    No. Although it is the fastest way for your client to get their refund, they can choose to receive a paper check.