By Shawn Raymundo

Amid the daily disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for California’s taxpayers to file their state 2019 tax returns and payments has been pushed back to mid-July, the state’s Franchise Tax Board announced late Wednesday, March 18.

The deadline for all individuals and businesses to file their returns and return payments for 2019 will now be July 15. The new deadline also covers first and second quarter estimate payments for 2020, 2020 LLC taxes and fees, and 2020 non-wage withholding payments.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting life for people and businesses statewide,” State Controller Betty T. Yee said in a press release. Yee serves as chair of the FTB.

“We are further extending tax filing deadlines for all Californians to July 15,” she continued. “Hopefully, this small measure of relief will help allow people to focus on their health and safety during these challenging times.”

The FTB’s decision to postpone the deadlines for state taxes followed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s announcement on Tuesday, March 17, that individuals and businesses would have an extra 90 days to file their federal income tax payments with the IRS.

Taxpayers, he specified, should still file their federal returns by the April 15 due date, according to news reports.

“We encourage those Americans who can file their taxes, to continue to file their taxes on April 15 because for many Americans you will get tax refunds,” CNN reported Mnunchin saying. “We don’t want you to lose out on those tax refunds.”

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department and IRS issued additional guidance on postponement, explaining that individuals could defer up to $1 million for the 90 days, or July 15, without penalties and interest. Corporations would be able to defer up to $10 million.

The FTB in California had previously extended the filing deadline for those taxpayers impacted by the pandemic until June 15, per Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 12 executive order. The latest announcement, the FTB explained, supersedes the previous extension.

“If possible, taxpayers should continue to file tax returns on time to get their refunds timely, including claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and Young Child Tax Credit,” the FTB said in the release. “During this public health emergency, FTB continues to process tax returns, issue refunds, and provide phone and live chat service to taxpayers needing assistance.”

More information on the tax relief can be found at ftb.ca.gov.

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