April 15th is on a Saturday this year and Monday is a holiday, so the tax deadline is pushed back to April 18th. Three extra days! Four extra days if you live in Massachusetts or Maine. But what if you’re still not ready to file?
Whatever your reason, the IRS gives you an automatic six-month extension to file. That’s a reprieve to file, not to pay. More about that later.
If you’re not ready to file by April 18th you need to know two things:
- How Do I Get an Extension?
Individual taxpayers use IRS Form 4868 to request an automatic extension to file their federal income tax return. Businesses and estates use different forms but the process is essentially the same.
An extension can be filed on the IRS’ website, e-filed using approved tax software, or in paper form. All you need are your name, address, and tax ID number. There are also spaces for your estimated tax liability, taxes paid in, and any amount due.
Paper forms must be postmarked or date-stamped before midnight of the due date.
- What If I Owe?
If you will owe more tax than you’ve already paid, the balance due must be paid with your extension request. Failure to pay will result in an underpayment penalty and interest on the unpaid amount, accrued daily until it’s paid. That really adds up.
If you are getting a refund, your extension is automatically approved. But you still have to wait to get your tax money back until your return is filed.
Need more details about getting a federal tax extension? Go to the IRS website at http://1.usa.gov/1XHtzSM or consult a qualified tax professional.