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Difference between Similar Federal and California Credits

Learning Objectives

  1. Summarize the differences between the federal and California Child and Dependent Care credit and how to report the difference.
  2. Describe the availability of the College Access Credit.
  3. Identify who may claim the Child Adoption Credit and what costs may be used to determine the amount of credit.
  4. Determine who is eligible to claim the Earned Income Credit and how to calculate it.
  5. Recognize when a credit for excess California SDI or VPDI withheld may be claimed.
  6.  Determine who is eligible to claim the New Employment Credit and how to calculate it.
  7. Determine when a taxpayer qualifies for the Nonrefundable Renter’s Credit.
  8. Recognize California credits that have been repealed, have carryover provisions, and/or are subject to recapture.

Key Terms

  • Child Adoption Credit
  • Credit Recapture
  • Custodial Parent
  • Excess SDI/VPDI Credit
  • Form 3506
  • Form 3540
  • Form 3554
  • New Employment Credit
  • Renter’s Credit
  • Repealed Credits
  • Schedule P (540)

Introduction

Most federal credits do not have a California counterpart.  Some federal credits have a similar California version and California also has many unique credits (some of which of been repealed but carryover amounts may still be used – see Repealed Credits section at the end of this chapter).

With the exception of exemption credits (see Module 1) all credits are taken in a certain order and are subject to limits.  Some reduce only ordinary tax; others reduce Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  If credits are left after tax is reduced to zero, some of them can be carried forward.  Some credits that have been repealed but were not used in full in prior years may still reduce a current year tax.

The Credit Chart below shows current credits in alphabetical order.  However, credits are applied in a specific order.

[1]

Form 540, lines 43 and 44 permit up to 2 credits to be shown.  If there are more than 2 credits, CA Schedule P (540), Part III, is used to determine the amount of each credit and the order in which it can be used.  The chart pictured on page 4 displays current credits and the section of Part III they belong in.  The Section numbers, A & B, indicate the order in which credits are applied.  For example, A1 is the first section, A2 the second until all of Section A has been determined.  Section B is next and follows the same sequence, i.e., B1, B2 and so on.

Schedule P (540)

[2]

When the taxpayer has more than two credits to claim on Section A or Section B of Schedule P (540), the total amounts from those credits should be entered on Form 540, line 45.

 [3]

 

Credit Table Instructions:[4]

  • Find your credits in the Credit Table
  • See which sections are identified under “Offset Tax in Section”
  • Take the credit only in the sections the Credit Table identifies for your credit
  • Use the credit in the earliest section possible
  • Complete each section before going to the next section

[5]

It should be clear by now that California credits comprise a large and complex environment.  Students should expect to spend plenty of time with Schedule P instructions.

Objective #1:  Child and Dependent Care Expense Credit

The California credit begins with a percentage of the allowable federal credit, which means the federal credit must be computed first.  Then other rules may reduce (or eliminate) that percentage amount.

Some of the additional conditions:

  • Credit is not allowed for care that is provided outside California
  • Nonresident taxpayers may not claim the credit, unless they have earned income (wages or net self-employment income) from working in California
  • No credit is allowed if the federal AGI exceeds $100,000
  • The credit is nonrefundable and there is no carryover provision
  • Married couples and RDPs must file a joint California return (see Married Persons or RDPs Filing Separate Tax Returns later for exceptions)[6]
  • Taxpayer lived apart from their spouse/RDP at all times during the last 6 months of the tax year
  • The qualifying individual lived with the taxpayer more than half the tax year
  • The taxpayer provided more than half the cost of maintaining the home in which both taxpayer and qualifying individual lived

The California percentage is based initially on the federal AGI (table below).  Because the California credit is a percentage of the Federal credit, the Federal amounts must be determined before the taxpayer can figure the California credit on Form FTB 3506.  The amount of California credit varies with the Federal AGI and is determined by multiplying the Federal Credit amount by the applicable percentage from the chart below.

[7]

Military taxpayers have some specific rules as well.

  • Servicemember domiciled outside of California – active duty pay is considered earned income from California sources
  • Servicemember domiciled outside of California – Federal AGI is reduced by active duty military pay to determine the percentage of federal credit on the above chart

The California credit is determined on Form FTB 3506 (below) and attached to the taxpayer’s Form 540.

[8]

 

Student note: Students should review the instructions for Form FTB 3506 at this time.

Qualifying Person

A qualifying person is:

  1. A child under age 13 who meets the requirements to be a dependent as a Qualifying Child.  A child who turned 13 during the year qualifies only for the part of the year when he or she was 12 years old
  2. A spouse/RDP who was physically or mentally incapable of self-care.
  3. Any person who was physically or mentally incapable of self-care and either:
  1. Was a dependent
  2. Would have been a dependent except that:
  1. He or she received gross income of $4,050 or more

ii. He or she filed a joint return

iii. The taxpayer, or his spouse/RDP if filing a joint return, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2016 return. [9]

Qualifying Child

A Qualifying Child is a child who meets all of the following tests:[10]

  • Relationship Test – The child must be a son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of one of these.  An adopted child includes a child who has been lawfully placed with the taxpayer for legal adoption even if the adoption is not yet final.  An eligible foster child must be placed with the taxpayer by an authorized placement agency or by a court.
  • Age Test – For the purposes of qualifying for the Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit, the child must be under 13.
  • Residency Test – The child must live with the taxpayer for more than half the year.
  • Support Test – The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support.
  • Joint Return Test – The child must not have filed a joint federal or state income tax return with his or her spouse/RDP.
  • Citizenship Test – The child must be a citizen or national of the U.S. or a resident of the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

 

[11]

Divorced, RDP Terminated, Separated, or Never-Married Parents

Special rules are needed in determining if the taxpayer’s child meets the requirements to be his qualifying person.  Only one parent qualifies to claim a child as a qualifying person when separate returns are filed by the parents.

In cases where both parents pay for child care for the same child, only one parent can qualify for the credit.  Some custody agreements include a provision detailing which parent is entitled to the credit.  However, that parent must meet all eight of the qualifications listed on Page 1 of the instructions for Form FTB 3506, Section C, Qualifications, to claim the credit.  To determine whether the taxpayer’s child meets the requirements to be his qualifying person, the following table should be used for verification purposes.

[12]

Custodial Parent and Noncustodial Parent

The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year.  The other parent is the noncustodial parent.  If the child lived with each parent for an equal number of nights during the year, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income.[13]

Parent Works at Night

If a parent works a night-time schedule, and the child lives with that parent for a greater number of days, but not nights, then that parent is treated as the custodial parent.  On a school day, the child is treated as living at the primary residence registered with the school, even though the child may have been absent from the home most of that day.  For this reason, the child’s registered address with the school he or she attends may be an important factor in figuring out who is the custodial parent.

Married Persons or RDPs Filing Separate Returns

Generally, a taxpayer who is married or an RDP must file a joint return to claim the credit.  However, the taxpayer can take the credit on his separate tax return.[14]  In addition the taxpayer must meet all of the other qualifications listed in Section C on Page 1 of the FTB 3506 Instructions.

  • The taxpayer lived apart from their spouse/RDP at all times during the last 6 months of the tax year
  • The qualifying individual lived with the taxpayer more than half the tax year
  • The taxpayer provided more than half the cost of maintaining the home in which both taxpayer and qualifying individual lived

Nonresidents and Part-Year Residents

Nonresidents and part-year residents are eligible to claim the credit depending on whether there was California source earned income.  Nonresidents must have earned income from California sources.  For nonresident servicemembers, military wages are considered California source earned income for the purpose of qualifying for the credit.  To qualify for the credit, part-year residents must have earned income while a California resident or earned income from California sources while a nonresident.

Once it is established that the taxpayer qualifies to claim the credit, he must complete and attach Schedule CA (540NR), California AdjustmentsNonresidents or Part-Year Residents, to his tax return.  Form 540NR Long Form must be used.  It is imperative that Part I of Schedule CA (540NR) is fully completed or the credit may be disallowed.

Qualifying Expenses

Qualified expenses include amounts paid for the care of the taxpayer’s qualifying person while he worked or was looking for work.  No more than $3,000 for one qualifying person or $6,000 for two or more qualifying persons may be used to figure the credit.  See the following chart illustrating what types of expenses can be included in the computation of the credit on Form FTB 3506.

[15]

Review Question 1 

Carrie, 35, and Chris, 38, were legally separated on November 30th, 2016.  Chris moved out of the house they shared on September 1st, at which time they agreed to share joint custody of their 4 year old son, Travis.  Since then, Travis spent an equal number of nights with each parent. Carrie’s AGI for the taxable year was $35,000 and Chris’s was $40,000.  They split the $5,000 cost of daycare provided for Travis during the tax year.  Who is eligible to claim the Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit?

  1. Carrie
  2. Chris
  3. Carrie or  Chris may claim the credit
  4. Carrie and Chris can split the credit
  1. This answer is incorrect.  Even though Travis lived with both parents for an equal number of days, Carrie cannot be the custodial parent because her AGI is less than Chris’s.
  2. Correct.  Even though Travis lived with both parents for an equal number of days, Chris is the custodial parent because his AGI is greater than Carrie’s.  Page 6.7
  3. This answer is incorrect.  Chris is the custodial parent.  Only he may claim the credit.
  4. This answer is incorrect.  Chris is the custodial parent.  Only he may claim the credit.  This credit may never be split anyway.

Objective #2: College Access Credit

For taxable years 2014 through 2017, the College Access Credit [code 235] is available to individuals and businesses who make cash contributions to the College Access Tax Credit (CATC) Fund.  The fund is administered by the California Educational Facilities Authority (CEFA).  The contributions go toward providing money for books and living expenses to lower income college students.  Taxpayers must request and receive a credit certificate from CEFA to be eligible to claim the credit.

The credit amount is calculated using Form 3592.  The credit amount is provided by CEFA and is a percentage of the contribution, as follows:

  • 2014 taxable year – 60% of the amount contributed
  • 2015 taxable year – 55% of the amount contributed
  • 2016 taxable year – 50% of the amount contributed
  • 2017 taxable year – 50% of the amount contributed

The credit is computed using Form 3592.  Any unused credit can be carried over (to future tax years only) for up to 6 years.  The credit can also be used to reduce AMT.

[16]

Review Question 2 

Ron owns 51% of GG Partnership, a California business.  Ron, along with his partners, wish to encourage lower income  college students to complete their education.  He has heard about the College Access Tax Credit (CATC) Fund which is administered by the California Educational Facilities Authority (CEFA) and supported by cash contributions from individuals and businesses.  This fund provides money to lower income college students and also awards a provides a state tax credit to contributors.  Ron is thinking of having GG Partnership make a contribution and then passing the credit to the partners.  Which of the following statements is correct?

  1. The credit for 2016 would be 60% of the amount contributed.
  2. The credit for 2016 would be 55% of the amount contributed.
  3. Taxpayers may claim the credit based on a cancelled check for the amount of the contribution.
  4. The credit for 2016 would be 50% of the amount contributed.
  1. This answer is incorrect. This was the calculation for 2014.
  2. This answer is incorrect. This was the calculation for 2015.
  3. This answer is incorrect. The taxpayer must have a credit certificate from the CEFA to claim the credit.
  4. Correct.  This is the calculation for 2016 and 2017.  Page 6.9

Objective # 3:  Child Adoption Credit

Taxpayers may claim a credit for 50% of the cost of adopting a child who is both a citizen (or legal resident) of the United States and who was in the custody of a California public agency or a California political subdivision.  Credit is allowed in the tax year in which an order of adoption is final.  The taxpayer may include only costs directly related to the adoption process, such as:

  • Fees paid to a licensed adoption agency or the Department of Social Services
  • Medical expenses which were not reimbursed by an insurance company
  • Travel expenses incurred by the adoptive family

If the taxpayer unsuccessfully attempted to adopt a child, even when the costs were incurred in an earlier year, he may include those costs with the costs of a later successful adoption of a different child.  In this case, the adoption of a child would be considered one effort and qualifying (directly related) costs may be included the computation of the credit.

 

Taxpayers do not qualify to claim this credit if the child was adopted from another country or another state, or the child was not in the custody of a California public agency or a California political subdivision.  In addition, if the Credit is claimed, then any other deduction for the expenses used to claim this credit must be reduced by the amount of the credit claimed.

The worksheet below is used to figure this credit.  A separate worksheet must be completed for each adoption if more than one adoption qualifies for this credit.  The maximum credit allowed is limited to $2,500 per qualifying child.  The taxpayer may carry over the excess credit to future years until the credit is used.

  1. Enter qualifying costs for the child               1 _________
  2. Credit percentage — 50%                     x          .50
  3. Credit amount.  Multiply line 1 by line 2.

Do not enter more than $2,500              3 _________

[17]

 

The allowable credit is limited to $2,500 for 2016.

 

Review Question 3 

Rachel and Mike spent a year and a half going through the adoption process.  They attempted to adopt a child in 2015 from a California licensed adoption agency, but were unsuccessful.  They paid $2,400 to that agency.  In 2016, they went through a California public agency and successfully finalized the adoption for a different child.  During the process, they spent $2,600 in unreimbursed medical expenses for the child and $1,000 in travel expenses to meet with the child and complete the adoption with the agency.  What is their allowable credit amount for adoption costs for 2016?

  1. $1,800
  2. $2,500
  3. $3,000
  4. $6,000
  1. This answer is incorrect.  This amount doesn’t include 50% of the $2,400 in qualifying costs of the unsuccessful adoption attempt in 2015.
  2. Correct.  50% of the total of all qualifying adoption costs, $6,000 ($2,400 + $2,600 + $1,000) is $3,000.  The credit limit for 2016 is $2,500.  The excess $500 can be carried over to future years until the credit is used.  Page 6.11
  3. This answer is incorrect.  The credit limit for 2016 is $2,500.
  4. This answer is incorrect.  This is the total of all qualifying costs, not the allowable credit.

Objective # 4:  Earned Income Credit

Beginning with 2015 tax returns California now has an Earned Income Tax Credit.  It is based in part on the federal credit but with some computational differences.  The credit is operative for taxable years for which resources are authorized in the annual California Budget Act, which means the Legislature has to approve funds for paying out the credit each year.  The FTB will oversee and audit returns that claim the credit.

 

Although the Federal and California credits have some similarities, there are also major differences.  The table below provides a summary of features; additional details can be found in Form 3514 instructions.  The credit is computed on Form FTB 3514 (shown at the end of this chapter).

 

  Federal California
Earned income Wages and self-employment CA wages only (subject to CA withholding)
Clergy housing allowance Earned to the extent subject to SE tax Not qualified (not subject to CA withholding)
Disability (employer paid) 

  • Pre-retirement (W-2)
  • Retirement (1099-R)
Qualified 

Not qualified

Instructions are silent 

Not qualified

Statutory (W-2) but taxed as self-employed Not qualified Not qualified
AGI maximum (federal) 

 

 

 

$53,505 (MFJ + 3 qualified dep) 

$50,198 (MFJ + 2 qualified dep)

$44,846 (MFJ + 1 qualified dep)

$20,430 (MFJ & 0 qualified dep)

Note: No filing status 

$14,162 (2 qualified dep)

$10,088 (1 qualified dep)

$  6,718 (0 qualified dep)

Social Security numbers 

ITIN (not allowed)

Required by filing deadline (including extensions) Required (deadline unknown)
Citizenship US Citizen or resident alien all year Main home in CA more than half the tax
Investment income limit $3,400 $3,471 – includes tax-exempt interest taxable in CA
Credit Lesser of EITC table for earned income or AGI EITC table uses only earned income

Most other rules for federal EITC apply for the California EITC, e.g., taxpayers without a qualifying child must be at least 25 but under 65 at the end of the tax year (on jointly filed returns only one taxpayer must meet this rule).  The actual credit will be determined in part by economic circumstances for each year in addition to the budget approval process, which means that in some years there may not be a California EITC.

The California credits conform to the federal definitions of an “eligible individual” and a “qualifying child” with the following exceptions:

  • An eligible individual without a qualifying child would be required to have a principal place of abode in California (not just in the United States) for more than one-half of the taxable year
  • A qualifying child also would be required to have a principal place of abode in California (not just in the United States) for more than one-half of the taxable year

The credit law also provides the following:

  • A waiver of the underpayment of estimated tax penalty if the penalty was due to changes in the subsequent tax year’s credit amount
  • Conformity to the IRS penalty of $500 for paid preparers who fail to comply with due diligence requirements for determining eligibility for EITC

The earned income, phaseout, and investment income amounts will be adjusted annually for inflation for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, in the same manner as the re-computation of the state income tax brackets.

For purposes of the CA EITC, the definition of “earned income” is modified to include wages, salaries, tips, and other employee compensation, but only if such amounts are subject to California withholding.[18] Additionally, earned income would specifically exclude income from self-employment.

[19]

Review Question 4

Tom and Geneva are married, filing jointly.  Their only income is Tom’s W-2 for $13,000.  They have 2 children – Amy, age 7, and Joseph, age 5.

They are barely making ends meet and rely on the federal EIC to get by.  Now that California also has EIC, how much will they be able to claim on their 2016 tax return?

  1. $   386
  2. $   403
  3. $5,210
  4. $1,500
  1. This answer is incorrect. $386 is from the CA EITC Credit Table for earned income between $13,001 to $13,050.
  2. Correct. $403 is from the CA EITC Credit Table for earned income between $12,951 to $13,000.
  3. This answer is incorrect. This is the federal EIC allowed.
  4. This answer is incorrect. This is the federal additional Child Tax Credit.

Review Question 5

The following taxpayer(s) satisfy the income and residency test for EIC and none has a qualifying child. Which of them does not meet the other tests to qualify for EIC?

  1. A 67 year husband and his 59 year old wife
  2. A 32 year old single man
  3. A 24 year old man and his 24 year old wife
  4. A 25 year old woman
  1. This answer is incorrect.  The age requirement for a taxpayer without a qualifying child is under age 65 at the end of the tax year.  Thus, this couple would qualify since the spouse meets the age test.
  2. This answer is incorrect.  The age requirement for a taxpayer without a qualifying child is at least 25, but under 65, at the end of the year.
  3. Correct.  Since neither taxpayer nor spouse is age 25 they do not qualify for the EIC.  Page 6.12
  4. This answer is incorrect.  The age requirement for a taxpayer without a qualifying child is at least 25.

Objective #5:  Excess California SDI (or VPDI) Withheld

The taxpayer may claim a credit for excess State Disability Insurance (SDI) or Voluntary Plan Disability Insurance (VPDI) if he meets all of the following conditions:

  • He had more than one California employer during the taxable year
  • He received wages of greater than $106,742 during 2016 from California sources
  • SDI (or VPDI) amounts withheld appear on Form W-2

The taxpayer may not claim excess SDI (or VPDI) on his Form 540, if the SDI (or VPDI) was withheld from the taxpayer’s wages by just a single employer, at more than 0.9% of his gross wages.  In this situation, he must contact his employer for a refund and corrected Form W-2.

The excess SDI (or VPDI) should be reported on line 74 of From 540 as a refundable credit.  The taxpayer must complete the Excess SDI (or VPDI) Worksheet (below) to determine the amount to enter on line 74, Form 540.  If the taxpayer is married/RDP and files a joint return, he must figure the amount of excess SDI (or VPDI) separately for each spouse/RDP.

[20]

Review Question 6 

Mark and Vicki are married and will file a joint return for the taxable year.  Mark is a doctor for General Hospital and received a W-2 showing wages of $120,000 and SDI withheld of $1,080. Vicki works for a CPA firm and received a W-2 with wages of $70,000 and SDI withheld of $630. She also does accounting work for a law office and received a W-2 from them with wages of $40,000 and SDI withheld of $360.  What amount of excess SDI withheld can they claim on their California return?

  1. $148
  2. $    0
  3. $  29
  4. $119
  1. This answer is incorrect.  This amount includes Mark’s excess SDI withheld.  He had just one employer who withheld too much, so he has to contact his employer for a refund.
  2. This answer is incorrect.  Vicki’s SDI withheld is excessive and she has two employers.  Therefore, she can report her excess SDI on their joint tax return.
  3. Correct.  Only Vicki’s excess SDI can be included on the return since she had two employers.  Her total SDI withheld was $990. The 2016 limit is 960.68.  Page 6.15
  4. This answer is incorrect.  This is the amount of excess SDI withheld by Mark’s employer.  He had only one employer, so he has to contact his employer for a refund.

Objective #6:  New Employment Credit (NEC)

The New Employment Credit is available for taxable years 2014 through 2020.  The nonrefundable credit can offset corporate and individual income tax but not alternative minimum tax.  Employers doing business in a Designated Geographic Area (DGA) who hire full-time employees and experience a net increase in full-time jobs for the tax year qualify to claim the NEC.

The employer must request a tentative credit reservation (TCR) for each qualified full-time employee within 30 days of completing the New Hire reporting requirements (Form DE 34).  For each qualified full-time employee hired in previous years, employers are required to obtain an annual certification of employment.

Employer Requirements

The employer is qualified if:

  • The trade or business is located in a DGA
  • The business is not considered an excluded business: temporary help services or retail trades, and those mainly involved in food services, alcohol sales, theatre, or gambling, unless it is considered a small business
  • The business is not sexually-oriented
  • One or more full-time qualified employees are hired during the taxable year, who work an average of at least 35 hours per week, whether paid hourly or salaried.  The employee must perform at least 50% of his work for the employer in the DGA, receive beginning wages exceeding 150% of the state minimum wage, and is hired on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

Employee Requirements

The individual must meet any of the following conditions at the time of hire:

  • Unemployed for six months before the date of hire (higher education students must have graduated 12 months prior);
  • Veteran unemployed since separation from service (1 year cap);
  • Received federal earned income credit in the previous taxable year;
  • Ex-offender previously convicted of a felony; or
  • Currently receiving Welfare or CalWorks.

Figuring the Credit

Form 3554 is used to compute the credit.  A copy of Form 3554 is shown at the end of this chapter. The number of prior year (base year) and current year annual full-time equivalent employees must be calculated to determine the net increase in full-time employees (line 17).  The net increase in full-time employees is then divided by the total qualified full-time employees (for which the employer received a tentative credit reservation) to arrive at the “Applicable percentage.”  The applicable percentage cannot exceed 100%.  The tentative credit is based on 35% of qualified wages (see next paragraph).  The allowable credit is the tentative credit amount multiplied by the applicable percentage.

Qualified wages are the portion of wages paid or incurred that exceed 150% of minimum wage, but do not exceed 350% of minimum wage.  For designated pilot areas, qualified wages are those which exceed $10 an hour, but do not exceed 350% of minimum wage.  California’s minimum wage from 1/1/2014 – 6/30/2014 was $8 per hour.  From 7/1/2014 – 12/31/2015, it increased to $9 per hour.  Beginning January 1, 2016, the minimum wage is $10,00 and is expected to be $10,50 on January 1, 2017.

Determining the hourly rate for a salaried employee can be done by dividing the annual salary by the annual hours upon which the salary is based (usually 2,080 hours) e.g., an employee with an annual salary of $35,000 would have an hourly rate of $16.83 ($35,000 ÷ 2,080 hours).

The credit [code 220] is entered on Form 540, line 43 or 44 or 45 depending on how many credits are included in the return.

And there are some additional conditions:

  • The taxpayer must timely file the tax return that claims the credit.  Form instructions do not indicate if an extended return qualifies
  • Recapture rules apply if a qualified full-time employee is terminated within the first 36 months after beginning employment.  Some exceptions to the recapture provisions:
    • The employee voluntarily leaves employment
    • The employee becomes disabled and unable to perform the services of that employment, unless the disability is removed before the close of the period and the employer fails to offer re-employment
    • The employee is terminated due to misconduct
    • The employer has a substantial reduction in operations, including reductions due to seasonal employment
    • The employee is replaced by other qualified full-time employees so as to create a net increase in both the number of employees and the number of hours of employment
    • The employment is considered seasonal, and the qualified employee is rehired on a seasonal basis[21]

Credit can only reduce regular taxes to zero.  Any unused credit can be carried forward for up to 5 years or until used up.  A good resource to get additional information (including sample calculations to determine full-time employees):

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/online/New_Employment_Credit_Reservation/FAQs.shtml#QT2

CAUTION: California employers are required to report all newly hired and rehired employees within 20 days of their start date (first day of work) to the New Employee Registry.  Failure to do so may result in a penalty of $24 for each failure to report or $490 for an intentional attempt to supply false data or mislead the EDD.

Review Question 7 

Denise is a sole proprietor operating a gourmet catering company. Her growing business required her to employ one new full-time employee in 2016, whom she pays $19.50 per hour.  She received a tentative credit reservation for the employee as required.  During the taxable year, the employee worked 1,000 hours (at a $10.00 applicable minimum wage rate).  What is the tentative credit amount?

  1. $3,500
  2. $4,500
  3. $3,325
  4. $1,575
  1. This answer is incorrect.  This uses the minimum wage amount and the number of hours worked, multiplied by 35%. [($10.00 x 1,000) x 0.35 = $3,500].
  2. This answer is incorrect.  This uses the minimum wage amount x 150%, of the hourly wage, and the number of hours worked. [($19.50 – $15.00) x 1,000 = $4,500].
  3. This answer is incorrect.  This uses the minimum wage amount, the hourly wage, and the number of hours worked, multiplied by 35%. [($19.50 – 10.00) x 1,000 x 0.35 = 3,325].
  4. Correct.  The employee’s actual wage is $19.50/hour, 150% of Minimum wage is $15.00/hour, the qualified wage is $4.50/hour.  The tentative credit amount is $4.50 ×1,000 ×35% = $1,575.  Page 6.18

Objective #7:  Renter’s Credit

California residents qualify for a nonrefundable credit if they pay rent for their principal residence for at least six months of the tax year.  The credit can only reduce income tax to zero, i.e., it is not refundable (cannot be carried forward). To qualify for this credit the taxpayer’s California AGI must be no more than $39,062 (if single or married/RDP filing separate) or $78,125 if Married/RDP Filing Jointly, Head of Household or a Qualifying Widow(er). The amount of the credit is $60 or $120, respectively.

If Married/RDP Filing Separately taxpayers lived in the same rental property and both qualify for the credit, then each spouse/RDP may take up to $60 or one spouse/RDP may take up to $120. If Married/RDP Filing Separately taxpayers lived apart for the entire year, each spouse may claim the credit on his or her respective return if he or she qualifies.

The credit is entered on Form 540, line 46 (there is no code number).  A Nonrefundable Renter’s Credit Qualification Record (found in the Personal Income Tax Booklet on page 21) can be used to determine qualifications. This worksheet is for taxpayer use and not submitted with the tax return.

Review Question 8 

Joey and Julia are married with no children.  Joey’s California AGI was $32,000 and Julia’s was $40,000.  They lived apart for the entire taxable year and would like to file separate returns.  They each rented and paid for their own apartments in southern California.  They may decide to move back in together sometime in the near future.  What amount of Nonrefundable Renter’s Credit may each spouse claim on their separate returns?

  1. Joey $60, Julia $0
  2. Joey $120, Julia $0
  3. Joey $60, Julia $60
  4. Joey $0, Julia $120
  1. Correct.  Because they lived apart all year, they each determine their eligibility separately.  Joey is eligible for $60.  Julia’s California AGI exceeds the limit and disqualifies her from claiming the credit.  Page 6.19
  2. This answer is incorrect.  Because they did not live together all year, Joey is not eligible to claim the full credit of $120.
  3. This answer is incorrect.  Julia’s California AGI exceeds the limit and disqualifies her from claiming the credit.
  4. This answer is incorrect.  Julia’s California AGI exceeds the limit and disqualifies her from claiming the credit.

Objective #8:  Carryover and Recapture; Repealed Credits

Carryover and Recapture

Form 3540 is used to identify and figure the amount of credits that are not currently used but allow the unused credit to be carried forward.

It is also used to recapture credits that fail to meet requirements in a subsequent tax year.

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Repealed Credits

Many California credits have been repealed in recent years but some have carryover provisions. The following list are those credits that may have carryover provisions. The taxpayer may claim these credits only if there is a carryover available from prior years. If the taxpayer is not required to complete Schedule P (540), see Form FTB 3540, Credit Carryover and Recapture Summary, to figure the credit carryover to future years.

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Student Note: It is very important for students to read Form FTB 3540 with instructions and Schedule P (540) instructions prior to answering the chapter study questions and completing the learning activity.

Review Question 9 

Xavier, a California resident, made contributions of $15,000 to establish a child care program for employees in 2013.  His nonrefundable Employer Child Care Contribution Credit was 30% of the contribution, or $4,500.  He used $600 of the credit on his 2013 tax return and carried the balance of $3,900 forward.  He used $400 of the credit to offset taxes on his 2014 return and $700 on his 2015 return, resulting in a carryforward balance of $2,800.  His 2016 tax liability is $600.  How should Xavier apply this credit to his 2016 state tax return?

  1. He will claim a $4, 500 credit on his 2016 tax return.
  2. He will claim a $2, 800 credit on his 2016 tax return.
  3. He will claim a $600 credit on his 2016 tax return, and have the remaining $2, 200 unused portion refunded to him.
  4. He will claim a $600 credit on his 2016 tax return, and carry over $2, 200 to next year’s return.
  1. This answer is incorrect.  This is the total amount of the original credit.
  2. This answer is incorrect.  Xavier may not use any more credit than his tax liability.
  3. This answer is incorrect.  The Employer Child Care Contribution Credit is not a refundable credit.
  4. Correct.  Xavier may only use the Employer Child Care Contribution Credit to reduce his net tax liability.

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[25]

[26]

Student Note:  Please be certain to study your Reading Assignment for Chapter 6. 

  • Form 3540 with Instructions
  • Form FTB 3506
  • Form FTB 3506 Instructions
  • Form FTB 3554
  • FTB Publication 3549
  • Schedule P (540)
  • Schedule P (540) Instructions

[1] Form 540 Personal Income Tax Booklet, page 24

[2] California Schedule P (540)

[3] California Form 540

[4] Schedule P Instructions, page 8

[5] California Schedule P(540) Instructions, Alternative Minimum Tax and Credit Limitations-Residents, page 8

[6] See Form 3506 instructions and Pub 737

[7] Form FTB 3506 Instructions, Page 4

[8] Form FTB 3506

[9] Form FTB 3506 Instructions, Page 1

[10] Form FTB 3506 Instructions, Page 1

[11] Form FTB 3506 Instructions, page 1

[12] FTB 3506 Instructions, Page 2

[13] FTB 3506 Instructions, Page 2

[14] FTB 3506 instructions, Page 3

[15] FTB 3506 Instructions, Page 3

[16] California Form 3592, College Access Tax Credit

[17] Form 540 Personal Income Tax Booklet, Page 13

[18] Pursuant to Division 6 (commencing with section 13000) of the Unemployment Insurance Code.

[19] California Form 3514 Instructions, page 4

[20] 540 Personal Income Tax Booklet, Page 14

[21] Form 3554 Booklet, page 3

[22] Form 3540, Credit Carryover and Summary

[23] California Instructions for Schedule P (540), Alternative Minimum Tax and Credit Limitations- Residents, page 8

[24] California Form3514, California Earned Income Tax Credit, page 1

[25] California Form 3514, California Earned Income Tax Credit, page 2

[26] California Form 3554, New Employment Credit



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