California Tax Service Center

Extension Of Time To File for Individuals

Federal Income Tax (Internal Revenue Service)

File Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (Form 4868) on or before the regular due date of your return. Follow the instructions on Form 4868 on Where to File the Form. You may file Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ anytime before the six-month extension period ends.

You must make a proper estimate of your tax for the year. If you do not make a proper estimate of your tax, you will be treated as not having filed a valid request for an extension and you may be charged a penalty for late filing.

An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. You do not have to pay any tax due with Form 4868. However, if you do not pay the amount due by the regular due date, you will owe interest on the unpaid amount. You may also be charged a penalty for paying the tax late unless you have reasonable cause for not paying your tax when due. You are considered to have reasonable cause for the period covered by the automatic extension if at least 90% of the tax shown on your return is paid before the regular due date of your return through withholding, estimated tax payments, or with Form 4868 and any balance due on the return is paid with the return.

When you file Form 1040, enter any payment you made with Form 4868 on line 61. If you file Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A, include any payment you made with Form 4868 in your total payments on line 9 of Form 1040EZ or line 39 of Form 1040A. Also write "Form 4868" and the amount in the space to the left of line 9 or line 39.

Any extension of time allowed for filing your calendar year income tax return also extends the time for filing a gift or generation skipping transfer (GST) tax return. Check the box(es) if requesting a gift or GST tax return extension.

State Income Tax (Franchise Tax Board)

If you can't file by April 15, you have an automatic six-month extension to file your return until October 15. You don't have to file a written request to receive the extension because it's paperless. However, the extension to file does not mean an extension to pay. Use Payment Voucher for Automatic Extension for Individuals (FTB 3519) if you owe tax and are unable to file your tax return by April 15.

If you are residing or traveling abroad on April 15, California law allows you an additional two months to file your return. This extension, when combined with the automatic six-month paperless extension, extends the due date to December 15. When filing your return, please attach a statement to the front of the return indicating you were abroad on April 15. Again, this is not an extension to pay.

Military personnel on special assignment may qualify for filing extensions. For more information, see California Tax Information For Military Personnel On Special Assignment (Publication 1021).

Also see How to File and Pay.