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As a Delaware C-Corp startup, what do I need to know about the $800 California Franchise Tax?

Vanessa Kruze, CPA, is a leading expert in startup taxes and tax compliance. Her team at Kruze Consulting has filed thousands of tax returns for companies that have raised billions in VC funding, and her work has been diligenced by leading VCs, attorneys, and M&A teams at the largest technology companies.
Vanessa Kruze, a highly-experienced CPA, brings valuable tax expertise to startups, drawing from her rich background at Deloitte Tax and as a financial controller for a $20 million startup. As the leader of Kruze Consulting, recognized multiple times in the Inc 5000 list, she specializes in navigating the complex tax landscape for startups. Her firm is known for delivering precise and strategic tax solutions, delivering tax credits utilizing advanced tools to ensure compliance and optimize tax benefits for startups throughout the United States.

Table of contents

What is the CA Franchise Tax?

If you are a startup that has employees, rent, or revenue in CA… and you’ve registered to do business in CA then you will need to pay CA Franchise Tax. These taxes have nothing to do with your revenue, income, profitability, or even if you have an office or presence in that state. Also, this is separate from the “tax return’ which is known as the 1120. It’s a tax for the privilege of being a C-Corp.

Do Delaware C-Corps doing business in California have to pay the California Franchise Tax?

Probably - if you are a DE C-Corp that has employees, rent or revenue in California, and you’ve registered to do business in California, then you probably owe the CA Franchise tax. And this would be in ADDITION to the Delaware Franchise Tax that you owe the state of Delaware.

When is the CA Franchise Tax due?

CA Franchise tax is due on April 15th of each year, whereby the CURRENT year’s taxes are due. Corporations don’t need to pay for their first year of incorporation. For example, a company incorporated in 2016 would pay their 2017 CA Franchise Taxes no later than April 15th, 2017. Nothing due for 2016. Another example: If you were incorporated in 2015, we would expect to see an $800 payment around 4/15 of each subsequent year, applied to current tax year. In other words:

  • 2015: no payment needed
  • 2016: $800 needs to be paid by 4/15/2016
  • 2017: $800 needs to be paid by 4/15/2017


How much is the CA Franchise Tax?



What agency is the CA Franchise Tax paid to?

FTB = Franchise Tax Board


How/where do you pay the CA Franchise Tax?

  • Pay online!
  • CA FTB Webpay
  • Select Pay Today (don’t register)
  • Enter your company ID, which you can look up by name here: Secretary of State
  • Select form 100
  • then “Estimates Payment”
  • Enter $800
  • and 1/1/201X-12/31/201X


How do you check if the CA Franchise Tax has been paid?

Note that the CA Franchise Tax site does not have an easy login for us to double check on this; therefore, the most efficient thing for us to do is verify payments within your books.

Kruze Consulting San Francisco
600 California St. 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA, 94108
(415) 322-1610


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We are the experts at helping seed/VC-backed Delaware C-Corps with their accounting and finances!

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