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CA-592: Non-Resident Income Withholding

November 12th, 2014 No comments

The state of California requires withholding of 7% on payments of $1500 or more to both residents and non-residents of the state.  This form follows the federal tax template used by the IRS for reporting payments and withholding to non-US persons from US sources, regardless whether the recipient would have any tax liability or is a resident.

For purposes of reporting, California non-residents include:

  • Individuals
  • Businesses that are not registered with the Secretary of State
  • Independent Contractors providing services in California
  • Trusts and Estates

In addition to contractor services and business proceeds, the withholding requirement also extends to rents, royalties and trust or estate distributions.

The form itself is not complicated to understand, and the payer has the responsibility for the reporting withholding requirement.  The question for most non-residents is how to obtain a refund for the withheld amounts assuming that there is no tax liability.

Non-resident Tax Liability and Forms

This is a burdensome task for many non-residents, who according to the instructions must file a California tax return if they receive Form CA-592.  In addition, failure to file a tax return could result in penalties.  There is an additional form that is only for non-residents, CA-592-B, where withheld amounts are reported.

The California income tax form for non-residents is Form 540NR, and in order to get tax relief you may have to show that you paid tax on the California sourced income in your home state.  For this purpose you would file Schedule S, Other State Tax Credit, with 540NR.  If you qualify, you would get a tax credit on the California return for amounts paid in your home state.

If you don’t live in a state with a reverse credit agreement with California, you will have to complete 540NR along with the deductions and exemptions available, and pay the tax owed.  The availability of a refund will depend on the amount of income sourced in California, and the applicable rate after deductions.  If your home state does not offer a credit for those amounts paid, you will in essence pay double tax for the earned income or distributions.

To avoid the pain of double taxation, there is the remaining option to claim the withheld amounts as a deduction for those who itemize on their Federal tax returns. The taxpayer could then claim any amount refunded by California as income in the following year.  In the event that there is no refund due, then the only tax relief is via the federal deduction.

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How to electronically file California Form 592

June 3rd, 2013 No comments

You want to electronically file California Form 592 to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).  Smart thinking.  Electronic filing is:

1. Quick and easy to set up.  It takes about 2-5 days to get a login and passcode.

2. Easy to transmit secure, confidential data.

3. Gives you the opportunity to validate the file before transmitting and correct errors.

4. Gives you a receipt or acknowledgment that the FTB received your file.

To efile, the data must be in 1023S format which is just a comma delimited notepad file where the data is spaced out perfectly.  Each field of the csv file is discussed below.

Payee number (5 numeric characters)

Enter a sequential number of the payee beginning with “1”.  This field can be at most 5 characters in length which means than 99999 is the largest file that can be submitted.

Tax Year (4 numeric characters)

Enter the 4-digit year in which this withholding was taken place.  You can’t combine 2 or more tax years in a file.  If you are filing separate years, then create a separate file for each tax year.

TIN Number (9 numeric characters)

The withholding agent should obtain TINs for each payee.  Each TIN is 9 digits in length with no dashes or spaces.  If a TIN is unknown, this field should be left blank.

TIN Type (6 alpha characters)

There are 5 options here: SSN, CaCorp, FEIN, ITIN, or TPID.

First Name (11 alpha characters), MI (1 alpha character) and Last Name (17 alpha characters)

These fields only apply if the payee is an individual or grantor trust.

If the payee is an individual, then enter the first and last name and middle initial.  If the payee is not an individual, then these fields should be left blank.

There are several common but obvious errors.  One is length of each field.  If the first or last name exceeds 11 or 17 characters in length respectively, then submit the first 11 or 17 respective characters. Exclude Dr or Attorney or Mr or Mrs or M.D. or other titles from the name.

Other Name Line 1 (35 alpha or numeric characters), Other Name Line 2 (35 alpha or numeric characters)

The other name fields are used when the payee is not an individual.  Enter the name of the corporation, S corporation, partnership, trust, etc.  Do not enter the name of an individual contact person or trustee.

Address Line 1 (30 alpha or numeric characters), Address Line 2 (30 alpha or numeric characters), City (17 alpha or numeric characters), State (2 alpha characters), ZIP 5 (5 numeric characters), ZIP 4 (4 numeric characters), Country (22 alpha or numeric characters)

The address, city, state and zip fields pertain to the individual (first name, mi, last name) that you filed out or the non-individual (other name line 1, line 2).

Slash (/), hyphen (-), period (.), comma (,) and number (#) are the only special characters the FTB allows in Address Line 1 and Address Line 2.

If the payee is a US resident, then show USA in the country field.  Otherwise, leave the state field and zip codes blank and spell out the names of the foreign country up to 22 characters in length.  No special characters are allowed for the city field.

Domestic Quarter (1 numeric character)

Form 592 is filed quarterly.  Enter either 1, 2, 3, or 4 to represent when the withholding was completed.

Income Type (22 alpha characters)

Enter one of the following to characterize the type of California source income the payee received:

Independent Contractor, Entertainment, Rent or Royalty, Estate Trust, Foreign Partner, Domestic Partner, Backup Withholding, Foreign Partner Domestic Partner

Income Subject to Withholding (13 digits where 10 digits are to the left of the decimal, then the decimal point, then 2 digits to the right of the decimal)

Enter the amount of California source income subject to withholding.  Do not use the $ sign or comma and use 0.00 to show no amount.

Amount Withheld (13 digits)

Enter the amount of California tax withheld.

Amount Withheld by Another Entity (13 digits)

Enter the amount prevoiusly witheld by another entity and allocated to the payees listed.

Prior Payments (13 digits)

Enter the prior payments for the taxable yaer that were sent using Form 592-A or any prior payments as a result of amended Forms 592 for a prior period.

Foreign Prior Year Credit (13 digits) Foreign Balance Due (13 digits) Foreign Overpayment (13 digits) Foreign Credit to next Year (13 digits) Foreign Refund (13 digits)

Enter 0.00 to show no amount.

Foreign Tax Year End (10 numeric characters)

This date is formatted as mm/dd/yyyy and includes the slashes.

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