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Using IRS Form 4868 to Apply for a Federal Tax Filing Extension

how to apply for irs extension

Some people need to use a tax filing extension form to get more time to file their federal returns. Those that cannot meet the April 15 2010 deadline may be able to use IRS form 4868 to do this. How does the extension system work and how can taxpayers file their extension form?

Use Free File, Free File Fillable Forms, Software & Tax Preparation Services for an Extension

The IRS offers various ways to file for a federal tax extension. Taxpayers may, for example, be able to use form 4868 in the following ways:

  • Free File
  • Free File Fillable Forms
  • Tax preparation companies that use the e-file system
  • Tax software packages
There is also a paper download version of this form on the IRS website for those that prefer to work offline and mail in their extension request. Keep in mind, however, that a request for extension will only be automatically acknowledged if the individual files it electronically.

Taxpayers can also get an extension by paying their estimated tax bill by credit card or debit card. They may not have to give a reason why they need to extend their filing date and can then file their return at any point up to the new deadline they are given.

How Much Extra Time

Does the Tax Return Filing Extension Give?

This extension lasts until October 15 2010 so taxpayers that qualify are given an extra 6 months to file their federal tax return. Keep in mind that this extension only applies to the process of filing. It gives no extension on payment. Taxpayers are, therefore, asked to estimate their tax liability and to make a payment on that basis when they file for an extension.

This will help them avoid interest and late penalty payments. For example, requesting more time via form 4868 will avoid a failure to file penalty so this is worth doing for those that cannot meet the original deadline. Not paying estimated tax at this stage is not a good idea. The IRS may charge interest past the April 15 deadline and a late payment penalty.

Those that are having difficulties paying what they owe may want to contact the IRS as soon as possible. They may be allowed to pay some of what is owed and to pay the rest via an installment plan. The IRS have recently announced a series of measures to help those with problems paying their taxes and these may be worth checking out if extra help is needed.

Sources: IRS Newswire IR-2010-042 (accessed 8 April 2010); IRS, Extensions of Time to File Your Tax Return

Category: Taxes

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