2020-03: California grants extension to file and pay; IRS: not yet - Spidell

2020-03: California grants extension to file and pay; IRS: not yet


On March 13, 2020, the FTB announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected business and individual taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns, and make certain payments, until June 15, 2020. This relief is in line with the Executive Order issued by the Governor on March 12, 2020.

For calendar-year taxpayers, this is a three-month automatic extension for partnerships and S corporations, and a two-month extension for all other taxpayers.

The FTB’s June 15 extended due date may be pushed back even further if the Internal Revenue Service grants a longer relief period.

What about the IRS?

The White House and the Treasury Department have indicated they intend to postpone the filing deadline. However, the IRS has not yet issued an official notice of a postponement, or any guidance on the issue.

The Internal Revenue Code grants the IRS authority to postpone deadlines by reason of a federally declared disaster under the Stafford Act. Because the President invoked the Stafford Act to declare a national emergency rather than a national disaster, it is unclear whether the IRS has authority to postpone the filing deadline.

Caution: To be safe, we suggest filing extensions for all of your calendar-year partnerships and S corporations today.

California’s extension

The relief includes moving various tax filing and payment deadlines that occur on March 15,2020, through June 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020, including:

  • Partnerships and LLCs who are taxed as partnerships whose tax returns are due on March 15 now have a 90-day extension to file and pay by June 15;
  • Corporations and individual filers whose tax returns are due on April 15 now have a 60-day extension to file and pay by June 15; and
  • Quarterly estimated tax payments due on April 15 now have a 60-day extension to pay by June 15.

How to claim the benefit

Taxpayers claiming the special COVID-19 relief should write the name of the state of emergency (for example, COVID-19) in black ink at the top of the tax return to alert the FTB of the special extension period. If taxpayers are e-filing, follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.

Who qualifies?

According to the FTB, a taxpayer does not have to be directly impacted to qualify for relief. Taxpayers who experience any difficulty in filing or paying, as a result of COVID-19, are included in this relief. For example, some taxpayers may not be able to get their tax returns prepared due to the unavailability of their paid tax preparers or through free tax preparation programs. Quarantine or infection could also affect someone’s ability to file or pay on time.