State Deductions

California Standard Deduction

California residents can claim the state standard deduction on their state income tax returns to reduce taxable income. Same as the federal income taxes, those who take the standard deduction cannot itemize. California’s standard deduction amount is different depending on the filing status.

However, while the head of household gets a different amount in federal taxes, California allows those who file taxes as a head of household get the same amount as joint filers. With that said, heads of household will get double the amount of single filers in standard deduction. Whereas in federal taxes it is higher than what single filers can deduct but lower than joint filers.

At the time of writing, California’s standard deduction for 2020 taxes which will be filed in 2021 is:

Filing StatusCalifornia Standard Deduction
Single / Married Filing Separately$4,537
Married Filing Jointly / Head of Household / Qualifying Widow(er) $9,074

California Standard Deduction for Dependents

The above standard deduction only applies to you if no one claims you as dependent. If you’re a dependent of someone, you must use the standard deduction worksheet for dependents. Although this will lower the amount you can claim, the minimum standard deduction for dependents is $1,100.

Because of this, you must use the formula below as seen on the California Franchise Tax Board website.

  1. Enter your earned income from: line 2 of the “Standard Deduction Worksheet for Dependents’’ in the instructions for federal Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
  2. Minimum standard deduction: $1,100.00.
  3. Enter the larger of line 1 or line 2 here.
  4. Enter the amount shown for your filing status:
    • Single or married/RDP filing separately, enter $4,537.
    • Married/RDP filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er), enter $9,074.
  5. Standard deduction. Enter the smaller of line 3 or line 4 here and on Form 540, line 18.

All dependents must use the above worksheet to calculate how much they can claim as part of the standard deduction. It is a simple process where you can figure out the standard deduction amount that is available to you and claim it on Form 540, California Resident Income Tax Return.

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