Detailed instructions for amending your 2012 California return
It might seem a little complicated at first, but don’t worry.
These instructions will guide you every step of the way, making the amend process easier and helping ensure the accuracy of your amended return.
We strongly recommend keeping this window open or printing this article so you can refer to it as you amend your California return.
Note: If you have a simple tax situation, you’ll likely be using California’s short form (Form 540 2EZ). If that’s the case, your amend steps might be a little different than what’s described below.
By the time you come to the Important: Read and Follow Your California Amend Instructions page, we’ve already transferred any relevant info from your federal amended return to your California amended return.
Note: In most cases, we usually don’t need any more info than this and you can skip to Review your California amend info.
But if you have additional changes you need to make for California (see example below), use the Topic List to find and go to the area where you need to make your change:
To use the Topic List:
- For Windows, select the Show Topic List button in the upper right-hand corner (under Help Center). Scroll and click on the area you want to work on.
- For Mac, select the Topic List icon at the top of the screen (next to Search Topics). Scroll and click on the area you want to work on.
Examples of steps to make a California-specific change:
- If you’re amending to get California’s new home/first-time homebuyer’s credit, use the Topic List and scroll to Taxes and Credits and then California Credit Finder.
- Next, click on the California New Home Credit link. This will take you to the part of your return that covers the credit.
- Answer the question related to the credit and then enter the requested info.
- Continue until you get to the You’ve Finished Your California Return page. (If you have any additional changes to make for California, you can go to another specific area from here.)
- Look for the Other Forms section.
- Next to File An Amended Return, select Update.
- Continue until you get back to the Important: Read and Follow Your California Amend Instructions page.
- Select Continue.
Note: If you’re using California’s short form and you also need to amend for the above reason, you’ll need to switch to the long form.
You can do that from the You’ve Finished Your California Return page:
- Under the General Info section, select Update for Residency Status/Form Selection.
- On the next page, select I’d like to see if the long form is right for me and then select Continue.
- On the Do These Apply to You? page, check the box for I will claim a California credit (other than the renter’s credit). You’ll then be switched to the long form.
Review your California amend info
When you come to the About Your California Amended Return page, you’ll be able to see the form for your amended return:
- Scroll through and review your amend info and answer any questions that may still need to be answered.
- Select Continue after you’re finished reviewing.
You should now see the You’ve Finished Your California Return
- Awesome, I’m done! Let’s review and go to Wrap-Up, and then select Continue. At this point we may check your California amended return for errors.
- Correct any errors and you should be good to go.
- Continue on to Wrap-Up.
- Print your California amended return.
- You’ll be asked to print (and save) both your federal and California amended returns in Wrap-Up.
- Note: If you’re amending only your California return, you’ll need to print in File (not in Wrap-Up).
- Sign and mail your California amended return.
- Drop your amended California return in the mail. Just like the IRS, the state of California does not allow amended returns to be e-filed. The mailing address will be included in the filing instructions, which will print out along with your amended return. The filing instructions will also let you know if you need to attach any other forms to your return.
- That’s it! Once your California amended return is in the mail, you’re all done.
IMPORTANT: If you started amending your state return and discover that you don't need to amend, please see Removing a State Amendment Form.
Note: Be sure to save a copy of your amended tax return. You'll transfer your amended information to next year's version of TurboTax.