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Short Period Return Due Date

What is a short period return and when is it due? Let’s start with defining a short period tax year. It is any period of less than 12 months. The circumstances that would generally result in a “short period” return to be filed with California are:

  • When a federal return for a period of less than 12 months is required.
  • When there is an accounting period change. In such case, the return shall be made for the short period beginning on the day after the close of the former taxable year and ending at the close of the day before the day designated as the first day of the new taxable year.
  • A business entity exists for only part of what would otherwise be its taxable year.
  • When an S corporation election is terminated during its year. The corporation must file two short-period returns. Each short-period return is deemed a separate tax year, and both will generally be subject to the minimum franchise tax.

Although California does have a paperless extension that allows the tax return to be filed later, for most business entities, except limited liability companies, tax is generally due on either the 15th day of the 3rd or 4th month after the close of a tax year depending on the type of tax return being filed. Therefore, the tax for short period corporate return generally will be due on the 15th day of the 3rd month after the close of the short-period tax year, unless provided otherwise in the law.

For more information, see FTB Publication 1060, Guide for Corporations Starting Business in California at ftb.ca.gov.

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