2020 California Withholding Tables

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Wage bracket method

In California, there are two methods for determining the amount to be withheld from wages and salaries for state personal income tax.

Method A – Wage Bracket Table Method (PDF)
Low Income Exemption, Estimated Deduction, Weekly Payroll Period, Biweekly Payroll Period, Semi-Monthly Payroll Period, Monthly Payroll Period, and Daily / Miscellaneous Payroll Period

It is limited to wages/salaries less than $1 million.

METHOD A provides a quick and easy way to select the appropriate withholding amount, based on the payroll period,filing status, and number of withholding allowances (regular and additional) if claimed. The STANDARD DEDUCTION and EXEMPTION ALLOWANCE CREDIT are already included in the wage bracket tables. Even though this method involves fewer computations than Method B, it cannot be used with your computer in determining amounts to be withheld.

Method B – Exact Calculation Method (PDF)
Low Income Exemption, Estimated Deduction, Standard Deduction, Personal Exemption Credit, Annual Payroll Period, Daily / Miscellaneous Payroll Period, Quarterly Payroll Period, Semi-Annual Payroll Period, Semi-Monthly Payroll Period, Monthly Payroll Period, Weekly Payroll Period, and Biweekly Payroll Period

METHOD B may be used to calculate withholding amounts either manually or by computer. This method will give an exact amount of tax to withhold. To use this method, you must enter the payroll period, filing status, number of withholding allowances, standard deduction, and exemption allowance credit amounts. These amounts are included in TABLES 1through 5 of the EXACT CALCULATION section.

Employee Withholding Allowance

When you hire an employee, you must have them complete and sign both withholding certificates: the federal Form W-4 and the state DE 4. The W-4 is used for federal income tax and the DE 4 is used for California Personal Income Tax (PIT).

Changes in 2020

Starting in 2020, allowances are no longer included on the redesigned Form W-4 for PIT withholdings. New hires and existing employees making changes to their withholdings must submit both the Form W-4 and the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate (DE 4) (PDF). If an employee does not give you a properly completed state DE 4, you must withhold state income taxes from the employee’s wages as if the employee were single and claiming zero withholding allowances.

Employees who submitted a Form W-4 before 2020 are not required to submit a new form if they have no changes to their withholding allowances. Continue to calculate withholding based on previously submitted forms.

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