How to File a Sales Tax Return in California

You need to file your sales tax return in California if you hold its sales tax permit. And you need to have that permit if you are selling goods in CA or operating from CA.

File a Sales Tax in California

Step 1

The first step is to visit the CA tax filing page.

Step 2

The next step is to log into your account. You get one when you register for a sales permit with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). If you have not already registered, you may need to do it to progress to the next step. Alternatively, if you do not want to create a username, you can opt to use a limited Access Code option. This option makes it easy to file a tax return and make a payment, even if you have not created a username.

Step 3

Click on “Create a Username. It’s essential to create one now because the Express option may be phased out soon. On the next page, you can view the benefits of using a username to access the platform.

Step 4

Click “Next” so that you can come to the next page. Select your customer ID type, then enter your customer ID and account number. If you don’t have them, you can use your account number and limited access code.

Step 5

Click Next to proceed to the next page to select the filing period.

Step 6

Next is the business activities page. Answer the question as they apply to you, and click on “Next.” You may not see the page if this isn’t the first time you are filing CA sales tax for this business.

Step 7

The next page is the Sales and Purchase Information page. Enter the total number of sakes you made. You will also enter details and use tax purchases and sales of fixtures and equipment.

Step 8

Once you resume or if you choose to continue, click “Next” to go to the “Sales at State-Designated Fair Grounds” page. Enter the sales made at the State-Designated Fair Grounds there. Then click next to continue.

Step 9

The next page is the nontaxable Sales (deductions page). Fill out the form accordingly. You may use the additional field at the bottom for nontaxable sales that aren’t listed.

Step 10

The next page is the District Tax Allocation. To add a district, click on the empty cell in the County Column, and choose one that applies to your business. Click Next when done.

Step 11

The next page is the Excess Tax Collected page. Enter any excess tax you collected here if any. You can also save your progress as a draft anytime. Click next when done.

Step 12

The next page is the summary page. Review all the information there and click next.

Step 13

The next page is the information page. Enter your details there, and indicate whether you are a paid preparer. Click save to come back later, or submit if you are satisfied. Confirm your submission in the pop-up window by entering your email to electronically file your sales tax returns. You will receive a confirmation email.

Make a Sales Tax Payment in CA

You can use the “Make a Payment” button in the confirmation email to make a payment for the taxes you just filed.

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