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Bay Area Tax Deadline: Yes, It's Been Extended to Oct. 16 (and Here's the Proof)

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A woman sits at her kitchen table and sifts through documents, looking concerned. Next to her is her opened laptop.
Most Californians have received an automatic extension from the IRS to file and pay their taxes. The deadline has been extended to Oct. 16, which also includes state taxes. (MoMo Productions/Getty Images)

Updated 4:10 p.m. Friday

Yes, for most Americans, Tax Day this year falls on Tuesday, April 18.

But if you live or own a business in the Bay Area, the deadline to file and pay both your federal and state taxes has been extended to Oct. 16.

Not everyone is aware that the federal and state tax deadlines have been extended for the majority of California counties, including all nine Bay Area counties. So if you’re feeling nervous because there are only a few days left till April 18, keep reading for everything you need to know about the 2023 tax deadline extension — including why you’re not alone if you had no idea you could benefit from this extension.

(And when you’re done, why not send this to someone else, so they know about the extension, too?)

Why is the Bay Area getting this tax deadline extension?

In short, it’s because of the severe winter storms that hit California from late December to early January.

Many Californians had their homes and belongings devastated by these storms and by the flooding, landslides, mudslides and evacuations they caused. A Los Angeles Times report estimated that this year’s winter storms have caused nearly $1 billion in damage. This extension is intended as a form of tax relief for the majority of Californians, in light of those severe weather events.

For your reassurance, here are the three IRS announcements on the federal tax deadline extension that includes the Bay Area. After each serious storm event, the IRS listed the California counties that were affected each time. If a county was named in any of these three IRS announcements — as every one of the nine counties in the Bay Area was — it remains eligible for the federal tax extension:

As for state taxes, here is the information from the California Franchise Tax Board on the state tax deadline extension for those California counties named in those IRS announcements, including the Bay Area:

Gov. Gavin Newsom also explicitly named the nine Bay Area counties in his March 2 statement that California would be extending the filing and payment deadline for state taxes as well as federal taxes, “aligning with the IRS.”

What Bay Area counties get this automatic extension to file and pay their federal and state taxes?

All of them: Every county in the nine-county Bay Area region will get this extension. That means if you live or own a business in one of the following Bay Area counties, you’ll automatically get the extension:

  • Alameda
  • Contra Costa
  • San Francisco
  • Marin
  • Napa
  • Santa Clara
  • San Mateo
  • Solano
  • Sonoma

And if you’re reading this outside the Bay Area, the full alphabetical list of California counties in which residents and businesses can receive an automatic extension is:

Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, Yuba

Another way of looking at it: The only California counties that aren’t getting that extension are Lassen, Modoc and Shasta.

Because the extension is granted automatically to everyone in the affected areas, there’s no application to fill out: The IRS and the state of California know where you live or own a business, so they will use that information to extend this relief to you. That said, if you do get a late filing or a late payment notice from the IRS before Oct. 16 and you live in an area that’s receiving the automatic extension, don’t panic. Just call the telephone number that’s on the notice, and the IRS says you can get the penalty wiped.


Do I get this automatic extension even if I didn’t lose anything in the winter storms?

Yes — you don’t need to have been directly affected by the winter storms to get this extension on your federal and state taxes, even though the storms are the reason for the extension.

This means that even if your home or your documents weren’t damaged during a storm, you still get the extension.

Despite this, Amy Spivey, visiting assistant professor and clinic director at UC College of the Law, San Francisco’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic says she hears a certain misconception a lot: people thinking that you have to be directly “affected” by the winter storms to benefit from the extension. “For example, their records were not personally lost or delayed by the storms, so they believe they were not ‘affected’ by the storms,” she said.

This, however, is false: Just by living in or owning a business in one of the nine Bay Area counties, federal and state authorities will count you as being “affected” by the storms. You won’t need to provide any evidence at the time of filing that you were affected by these storms.

I had no idea there was an extension this year. When did this happen?

The IRS announced the Oct. 16 extension for filing and paying federal taxes for certain United States counties affected by winter storms — including the nine Bay Area counties — on Feb. 24. (Back in January, the IRS had initially only extended the deadline to May 15.)

On March 2, Newsom’s office announced that California would follow the IRS’ lead and offer a similar extension for filing and paying state taxes for residents and business owners in those same counties. On March 17, the IRS added more California counties to the list of affected areas that were now eligible for the extension, bringing the total to 55 counties out of 58.

The IRS also has confirmed that if you live in one of the affected areas, you have until Oct. 16 to make 2022 contributions to your IRAs and health savings accounts.

But if you didn’t know that the Bay Area was getting an extension on filing and paying taxes this year, you’re not alone. In fact, “we are seeing this a lot,” said Spivey.

Spivey says that not only are many people in the Bay Area unaware that the deadline to both file and pay their federal and state taxes has been extended, but also those who do know are unaware it’s automatic and requires no action or application to receive it.

I haven’t filed my taxes yet. What are the pros of filing by April 18, even though I can get the extension?

One big reason you might consider filing and paying your taxes by April 18: Doing so will make it possible to receive your refund earlier, if you’re eligible for one, says Spivey.

You may also be planning to apply for other credits, financial aid programs or benefits, which still require you to have filed your taxes by the original Tax Day of April 18, even if you qualify for the deadline extension. That said, some programs may have also recently changed their key dates to align with the federal and state tax extension (like San Francisco’s working families credit for residents, which has moved its application date to Oct. 16.)

And if you’ve already applied or are planning to apply for any financial aid programs in 2023 — like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), for example — be sure that waiting until Oct. 16 to file your taxes won’t interfere with your application.

One more reason you might consider filing by the original Tax Day: Spivey points out that many free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinics, including hers at UC College of the Law, San Francisco, are scheduled to close after April 18, meaning that “your options to get free filing help may be more limited if you wait” until after that date. To find free tax help after that date, Spivey recommends you visit:

Tell us: What else do you need information about?

At KQED News, we know that it can sometimes be hard to track down the answers to navigate life in the Bay Area in 2023. We’ve published clear, practical explainers and guides about COVID, how to cope with intense winter weather and how to exercise your right to protest safely.

So tell us: What do you need to know more about? Tell us, and you could see your question answered online or on social media. What you submit will make our reporting stronger, and help us decide what to cover here on our site, and on KQED Public Radio, too.

This story has been updated to reflect the IRS’s multiple announcements listing the California counties that will receive the Oct. 16 extension on filing and paying state and federal taxes, and that the only remaining counties that will not receive this extension are Lassen, Modoc, and Shasta. 


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