How to File for a Tax Extension

To file for a tax extension, taxpayers have to fill out and submit IRS form 4868, the Application for Automatic Extension form. The good news is, it’s quick and easy and saves a lot of trouble.

There are several easy ways to complete and submit form 4868. We list the different methods below. Some people, like those living and working abroad and service members stationed outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico, get automatic two month tax extensions. However, extensions don’t prevent fines and interest. Even those with automatic extensions may still want to file form 4868 to get an additional four months.

tax extension form 4868

Filing for a tax extension is as easy as that. Click to see the PDF.

Ways to File for an Extension

To file for an extension, taxpayers must file IRS form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension. The extension lasts six months and the form is easy to complete. Filers only have to enter their name and address, plus an estimate of what they’ll owe, if anything. The extension form can be filed in several simple ways, including:

  • Mailing the extension form to the IRS
  • Filing the extension form with tax prep software like TaxACT, TurboTax, or H&R Block Online
  • Filing the extension form with the IRS e-file system.
  • Having a tax preparer file the extension for you.

Any of the methods above will give a taxpayer six extra months regardless of their reason for needing it. Since the regular tax filing deadline is April 15th, that means anyone who files for an extension has until October 15th to file their taxes.

tax extension militarySome People Get Automatic Extensions

U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are abroad on the tax deadline may be allowed an automatic two month extension, without having to file for it. To qualify, the taxpayer has to be outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Their main place of business or post of duty must also be outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico. The automatic extension also applies to military members stationed outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico.

As with normal extensions, automatic two month extensions don’t change the deadline for tax payments. All taxes must be paid by April 15th to avoid penalties. Those needing more than two months can get it by filing form 4868 for a six month extension.

tax extensionWhy File for an Extension?

There are several good reasons to file for an extension. The biggest and best reason is probably that it’s easy. A close second is that those who file for extensions have an additional six months to pay their taxes. That gives someone filing in 2015 has until October 15th to file their tax return.

Extensions don’t extend the tax payment deadline. Everyone must pay their taxes by April 15th each year. However, the penalties for late payment are relatively low: half a percent per month plus three percent annual interest. By contrast, the penalties for late filing can be large: as much as 47% of the total tax due. That means taking the few minutes to file for an extension can save a large amount of real money.

For more info on the reasons to file for an extension, see our article: Four Reasons to File for an Extension.

Article Source: Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return: