Most taxpayers who file a federal income tax return also file a state income tax return. While the IRS requires you to file Form 4868 to request an extension of time to file your return, each state has its own requirements for obtaining a similar extension. Some states such as California offer automatic extensions to all taxpayers, while other states require you to file a specific form by the original due date of the return.
Step 1: Check with your state tax authority
Some states including Wisconsin, Alabama and California offer automatic six-month extensions to file your state income tax return without having to file any additional forms. Other states, such as New York, will grant you a six-month extension but you must request it. For the nine states that do not impose a state income tax, you don’t even have to file an income tax return, let alone request an extension.
Step 2: File the appropriate state tax form
Unlike IRS Form 4868, which applies to all taxpayers throughout the country, you must file the correct state-specific form to obtain the extension. You can either access your state tax authority’s website and search for the extension form or have your tax preparation software, such as TurboTax, automatically generate it for you.
TurboTax also offers TurboTax Easy Extension, an online tool that allows you to file extensions for both your federal and state tax returns.
Step 3: Pay your taxes
An extension of time to file your state income tax return is not an extension of time to pay your tax. If you still owe tax at the end of the year, you may be subject to late-payment penalties if you fail to pay in full by the original due date of your return. To avoid paying penalties, it’s a good idea to calculate a quick estimate of what you might owe and submit a payment. Even if you overpay, you can always claim a refund in a few months when you eventually file your state tax return.
Step 4: Submit your return by your extended deadline
In most cases, your state tax return is due by October 15 if you take advantage of a six-month extension. However, if you fail to file a complete return by this date, your state may charge you penalties just for filing your return late.