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New Member

How do I figure out the estimated tax payments for 2021 to the FTB?

5 Replies
Expert Alumni

How do I figure out the estimated tax payments for 2021 to the FTB?

If you have already filed your state return and no vouchers populated with your return, you can use Form 540-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, and the 2021 CA Estimated Tax Worksheet, to determine if you owe estimated tax for 2021 and to figure the required amounts. Estimated tax is the tax you expect to owe in 2021 after subtracting the credits you plan to take and tax you expect to have withheld.


Generally, you must make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe at least $500 ($250 if married/RDP filing separately) in tax for 2021 (after subtracting withholding and credits) and you expect your withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of:

  1. 90% of the tax shown on your 2021 tax return; or
  2. 100% of the tax shown on your 2020 tax return including Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

I have attached the 2021 California Estimated Tax Worksheet below (2021 540-ES Instructions:(

  1. Residents: Enter your estimated 2021 California AGI. Nonresidents and part-year residents: Enter your estimated 2021 total AGI from all sources. Military servicemember/spouses, get FTB Pub. 1032, Tax Information for Military Personnel.
    1. If you plan to itemize deductions, enter the estimated total of your itemized deductions.
    2. If you do not plan to itemize deductions, enter the standard deduction for your filing status:
      • $4,601 single or married/RDP filing separately
      • $9,202 married/RDP filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
    3. Enter the amount from line 2a or line 2b, whichever applies.
  2. Subtract line 2c from line 1.
  3. Tax. Figure your tax on the amount on line 3 using the 2020 tax table for Form 540, or Form 540NR. Also include any tax from form FTB 3800, Tax Computation for Certain Children with Unearned Income, and form FTB 3803, Parents’ Election to Report Child’s Interest and Dividends.
  4. Residents: Skip to line 6a. Nonresidents and part-year residents:
    1. Enter your estimated 2021 California taxable income from Schedule CA (540NR), Part IV, line 5.
    2. Compute the CA Tax Rate: Tax on total taxable income from line 4 ÷ Total taxable income from line 3
    3. Multiply the amount on line 5a by the CA Tax Rate on line 5b.
    1. Residents: Enter the exemption credit amount from the 2020 instructions for Form 540.
    2. Nonresidents or part-year residents: Enter the CA credit proration percentage. Divide line 5a by line 3. If more than 1 enter 1.0000
  5. Nonresidents: CA prorated exemption credits. Multiply the total exemption credit amount by line 6b.
  6. Residents: Subtract line 6a from line 4. Nonresidents or part-year residents: Subtract line 7 from line 5c.
  7. Tax on accumulation distribution of trusts. See instructions for form FTB 5870A, Tax on Accumulation Distribution of Trusts.
  8. Add line 8 and line 9.
  9. Credits for joint custody head of household, dependent parent, senior head of household, and child and dependent care expenses.
    Nonresidents and part-year residents: For the child and dependent care expenses credit, use the amount from your 2020 Form 540NR, line 50. For the other credits listed on line 11, multiply the total 2020 credit amount by the ratio on line 6b.
  10. Subtract line 11 from line 10.
  11. Other credits (such as other state tax credit). See the 2020 instructions for Form 540, or Form 540NR
  12. Subtract line 13 from line 12.
  13. Interest on deferred tax from installment obligations under IRC Sections 453 or 453A.
  14. Alternative Minimum Tax. See Schedule P (540 or 540NR).
  15. Mental Health Services Tax Worksheet, line E above in section D.
  16. 2021 Estimated Tax. Add line 14 through line 17. Enter the result, but not less than zero.
    1. Multiply line 18 by 90% (.90). Farmers and fishermen multiply line 18 by 66 2/3% (.6667).
    2. Enter the sum of line 48, line 61, and line 62 from your 2020 Form 540 or the sum of line 63, line 71, and line 72 from your Form 540NR.
    3. Enter the amount from your 2020 Form 540 line 17; or Form 540NR, line 32.
    4. Is the amount on line 19c more than $150,000 ($75,000 if married/RDP filing separately)?
      • Yes. Go to line 19e.
      • No. Enter the lesser of line 19a or line 19b. Skip line 19e and 19f and go to line 20.
    5. Multiply 110% (1.10) by line 19b.
    6. Enter the lesser of line 19a or line 19e and go to line 20 ( If your California AGI is equal to or greater than $1,000,000/$500,000 for married filing separately, use line 19a.).
    Caution: Generally, if you do not prepay at least the amount on line 19d (or line 19f if no amount on line 19d), you may owe a penalty for not paying enough estimated tax. To avoid a penalty, make sure your estimated tax on line 18 is as accurate as possible. If you prefer, you may pay 100% of your 2021 estimated tax (line 18).
  17. California income tax withheld and estimated to be withheld during 2021 (include withholding on pensions, annuities, etc.)
  18. Balance. Subtract line 20 from line 19d (or line 19f if no amount on line 19d). If less than $500 (or less than $250, if married/RDP filing separately), you do not have to make a payment at this time.
  19. Installment amount. Multiply the amount on line 21 by 30%. Enter the results on the 1st and 4th installments of your Forms 540-ES. Multiply the amount on line 21 by 40%. Enter the result on the 2nd installment of your Forms 540-ES. There is not a required 3rd installment payment. If you will earn your income at an uneven rate during the year, see Annualization Option in the instructions under Section D.
Level 2

How do I figure out the estimated tax payments for 2021 to the FTB?

Due to changes in tax law, I didn't have to pay an RMD in 2020 but I must pay one in 2021. Where do I add the 2021 RMD amount for TT to calculate the correct estimated CA payments? 

Expert Alumni

How do I figure out the estimated tax payments for 2021 to the FTB?

To adjust the estimated CA payments for 2021, return to the state interview by Following these steps in TurboTax:

  • Select State in the left menu and Continue
  • At Your 2020 California taxes are ready for us to check, scroll down to Other situations and select Edit.
  • At A few things before we wrap up your state taxes, under Other forms, select Estimated Taxes for Next Year and select Start.
  • At Do You Want to Pay California Estimated Taxes for 2021?, answer Yes and complete the interview.
    • Adjust the Adjusted Gross Income to  increase it for the 2021 Required Minimum Distribution
New Member

How do I figure out the estimated tax payments for 2021 to the FTB?

I was able to get the CA estimated payments by changing the RMD for 2021 to the updated amount for 2021 as mentioned above, but it is still saying no estimated payments are due to the FED, this does not seem correct? Is there a trick, or a different rule?

Expert Alumni

How do I figure out the estimated tax payments for 2021 to the FTB?

In the program,

  1. go to federal  
  2. go to Other Tax Situations
  3. scroll down to Other Tax Forms
  4. select Form w4 and estimated taxes
  5. start
  6. adjust w4? No
  7. Review estimates? Review Now


Alternatively, for the federal, see Estimated Taxes | Internal Revenue Service and use IRS Tax Withholding Estimator - Internal Revenue Service



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