A few of my friends and I are on F1 Visa and had to file our 1040NR and 540NR tax return forms.

We used the e-file option at https://www.ftb.ca.gov/ to file our state tax and it had generated a 540 form which we submitted online. We have also received our refund correctly.

Later we found out that F1 students weren't supposed to use e-file and are supposed to file a 540NR by postal mail.

Our situation right now is that we have filed a 540 instead of 540NR but do not have to get an extra refund or pay them back.

Do we have to file an 540NR with a 540X again? And if we should, would we be amending a 540 or a 540NR on the 540X?

Edit: 2013 was our first year here and we've been in the state for less than 6 months.

  • 1
    "Later we found out that F1 students weren't supposed to use e-file and are supposed to file a 540NR by postal mail." And where did you get this idea from?
    – user102008
    Apr 8, 2014 at 4:14
  • That's the CalFile requirements. What does that have to do with it?
    – user102008
    Apr 8, 2014 at 6:41
  • I got confused between eFile and the 540 requirements. The actual requirements are at ftb.ca.gov/individuals/glossary.shtml#R. My friends and I are on F1 status and hence are here for a 'temporary or transitory purpose' which make us nonresidents. Apr 8, 2014 at 6:55
  • 1
    @GauthamBadhrinathan part residents is the correct answer. If you didn't have any other income before you came to CA - you're fine with filing form 540 (if you did and they find out you can get into trouble but they'll probably back off after some explaining...)
    – littleadv
    Apr 8, 2014 at 7:14

1 Answer 1


To the best of my knowledge you only file 540NR if you were a partial year in California (i.e.: during your first year of studies). You're considered CA resident when you're on F1, so you should be filing form 540 for any other year.

California taxes its residents on worldwide income, so for the time covered by your CA residency (if you filed form 540 - the whole year) you should report, and pay taxes on, your whole income, including outside of the US or exempted by treaties (which CA is not part of). CA FTB may come after you for that if they discover discrepancies.

If the numbers wouldn't change, just the form used is wrong, then just leave it alone.

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