Penalty for Late Filing


Today TaxMama hears from Debbie in the TaxQuips Forum with this concern. “I just filed for 2009.  I am qualified for refunds from both the fed and the state.  Will I be penalized for late filing if I DO NOT owe any taxes?”



 Hi Debbie,

If you have refunds coming for 2009, you will get them. And the wonderful thing about refunds is  – no penalties.

Unless you live in California. CA does have late filing penalties based on the tax liability, even when you have refunds. Oh, you are in California.

Well, in that case, On the California Form 540, look at Line 34 – Tax.  That’s your tax liability.  Even if you have paid money in, and have a refund, they have been known to charge a penalty based on the amount on that line. Plus, if they had to chase after you, they also charge a collection fee. It would appear on any notices you might have gotten.

If you didn’t get any notices (and haven’t moved since the last time you filed…), or notices you have received show no fee, you probably won’t face that fee. For now, just file and wait and see what happens.

 And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about filing tax returns late, and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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