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How Do I File for a Tax Extension?

how to file an tax extension

By Randy Duermyer. Home Business Expert

Question: How Do I File for a Tax Extension?

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But what if you can't get your return filed on time and need an extension?


If you won't be able to get your return completed and filed with the IRS by April 15th or before the 15th day of the fourth month after the close of your fiscal year, you'll need to file for a tax extension - an extension of time beyond the deadline in which to file your return.

Getting a tax extension of time does not give you an extension of time to pay any taxes you owe. If you don't pay what you owe by the deadline, you'll be charged interest on any shortage and may also be subject to a late-payment penalty.

In order to apply for an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return, you'll need to complete and submit IRS Form 4868. Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return by the due date of your return. The IRS gives you three choices for filing Form 4868:

  1. Electronically (such as by computer)
  2. By paying part of your tax due with a credit

    card (by phone or over the web through an authorized IRS outside service provider listed on Form 4868)

  3. By mail

You do not have to explain why you need the extension of time to file your return.

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The IRS will contact you only if your request is denied.

Tax Deadline Exceptions

  • If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, who is either: (1) living outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico; or (2) in military or naval services on duty outside of the U.S. when your tax return is due, you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file your return and pay any taxes you owe. For additional information refer to Publication 54. Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.
  • If you are serving in a combat zone or in a contingency operation (or are hospitalized as a result of an injury received while serving in such an area or operation), you have at least 180 days after you leave the designated combat zone/contingency operation to file and pay taxes. See Publication 3. Armed Forces' Tax Guide .

Category: Taxes

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