Not Going to Make Tax Deadline? How to File for a Tax Extension

Tax day in the United States is scheduled for April 15 every year, although the due date will change if April 15 falls on the weekend, in that case will fall on Monday. While tax payments are due on this day, if a penalty is not desired, taxpayers can delay their tax paperwork and extend their paperwork for six months, until October 15. The IRS offers three options to get an extension, to file electronically, pay by credit or debit, or to fill out and mail in Form 4868.

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Image credit: Chris Potter[email protected]/8194660049/

E-filing is a convenient way to file for a tax extension online. This program was developed as a way for taxpayers to file extensions electronically through the e-file program. The e-file program can be accessed from home or by using a tax professional. The professional can be a paid one you normally use or taxpayers can search out companies that offer this service for free. The IRS recommends going to the official IRS webpage and entering the words “Free File” in the search box to locate companies that offer this free service.

When filing an extension through e-file, the IRS offers these tips:

  • Use Form 4868 [ PDF ] as a way to calculate the estimated tax amount owed,  enter your total tax liability on line 4.
  • Taxpayers do not need to mail in Form 4868 unless paying estimated taxes by check or money order. If money is owed,  taxpayers should file Form 4868 by the regular return due date. 
  • Do a careful tax estimation, if the amount figured is far off the actual amount, interest can and will be assessed.

After filing for an extension through e-file an electronic acknowledgment is given to the taxpayer. The IRS recommends taxpayers keep this acknowledgment with their tax records as a means of verification that the extension was filed.

It is important to note filing for an extension through e-file does not excuse taxes, nor does it offer a delay without penalty. All it means is an extension for the actual tax return is granted. Taxpayers are still expected to estimate their tax due within a reasonable ball park amount and then pay this amount. If the estimated dollar value is way off, the IRS will impose penalty.

Not paying taxes by the date due does come with consequence even if an extension is filed. Special rules for extensions may apply for those living outside the US, taxpayers who are out of the country when the October 15 six month extension arrives, or for those serving in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area. Filing for a tax extension online is a convenient way to obtain an extension if one is needed.

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