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Requirements To File A 2015 California 540 2EZ (Resident Income Tax Return)

Updated on January 20, 2016

The California Resident Income Tax Return 540 2EZ is used to file California state income tax by California residents. The 2015 return is due by April 18, 2016. To qualify to file the California Resident Income Tax Return 540 2EZ, there are conditions that must be met. Let’s identify each and review in detail:

Residency

Filer must have been a California resident for the entire tax year.

Filing Status

Filer can have any filing status except married filing separate. And the criterion for each filing status is as follows:

If filing as single or head of household, total income cannot be greater than $100,000

If filing as a married filing jointly, registered domestic partner filing jointly or qualified widower, total income cannot be greater than $200,000

If filing as a dependent – single filer, total income must be more than $13,394.00

If filing as a dependent – married filing jointly, registered domestic partner or qualified widower, total income must be more than $26,838

If filing as a dependent – head of household, total income must be more than $19,038

If claiming the senior exemption, must be aged 65 years or older as of January 1st of the following tax year.

*note: if you are a dependent and have a dependent you cannot file Form 540 2EZ

Dependents/Exemptions

Filer can only have up to three dependents. The only exemptions allowed are the personal exemption, no more than three dependent exemptions, and the senior exemption (only if you cannot be claimed as a dependent).

Adjustments

Filers cannot have any adjustments to total income. Such adjustments include, but are not limited to student loan interest deduction, Individual Retirement Account (IRA) deduction, etc.

Vision

Filer cannot be blind.

Income

Filer can only have income generated from:

wages, salaries, tips,

interest and dividends

unemployment compensation

taxable scholarships and fellowship compensation grants (only if report on their Federal Form W-2)

capital gains from mutual funds (only if reported on Federal Form 1099-DIV, box 2a only)

pension

paid family leave

U.S. Social Security

tier 1 and tier 2 railroad retirement

Deduction

Filer can only claim the standard deduction. The 2015 California Standard Deduction for non-dependents is as follows:

Single $4,044

Married filing jointly $8,088

Registered domestic partner filing jointly $8,088

Head of household $8,088

Qualifying widower $8,088

You can find out more about Standard Deductions and how to calculate Standard Deductions for dependents here.

Payments

Filer can only have withholding payments. Meaning the only income that can be used when filing this form are California payments having only the federal tax withholdings shown on federal Form W-2 and federal Form 1099-R.

Credits

Filer can only claim the nonrefundable renter’s credit and the refundable California Earned Income Tax Credit.

In order to claim the nonrefundable renter’s credit, the filer must meet the following criteria:

Filer was a California resident all year

Filer’s California adjusted gross income (AGI) is:

Single: $38,259 or less

Married filing jointly, registered domestic partner filing jointly, head of household or qualified widower $76,518 or less

Filer paid rent for at least half the tax year for California property that served as their principal residence

The property rented by the filer was not exempted from California property tax

Filer did not live with another person that can claim them as a dependent for more than half a year

Filer was not a minor living with and under the care of a parent, foster parent, or legal guardian.

Filer or their spouse was not granted a homeowner’s property tax exemption during the year

If the above criterion is met, the credit amount allowed is:

Single: $60

Head of household, qualified widower, married filing jointly, or registered domestic partner filing jointly: $120

You can read more about the nonrefundable renter’s credit here.

In order to claim the California Earned Income Tax Credit, the filer must meet the following criteria:

Both the adjusted gross income and earned income cannot be larger than:

$6,580 if there are no qualifying children

$9,880 if there is one qualifying child

$13,870 if there are two or more qualifying children

If there is no qualifying child, the filer must be between 25 and 65 years old at the end of the tax year

Investment income cannot be larger than $3,400 for the entire tax year

You must have a principal residence in California for over half the tax year

Filer files as single, married filing jointly, registered domestic partner filing jointly, or head of household

You can read more about the California Earned Income Tax credit here.

If you would like more information regarding California tax filings, you can visit the State of California Franchise Tax Board’s website here.

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