How to File IRS Tax Extension

Filing an extension is super easy. I tell you how to do it. But first, let's talk about what an extension is and what it is not. An "Extension" is a way to ask the IRS for more time to file your tax return. The deadline to file your return is April 17, 2012. Form 4868 will extend the deadline by six months. With an extension, your deadline to file a tax return is October 17, 2012. However, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. That means, if you owe, you should pay the IRS by the April 17th deadline to avoid penalties and interest. For more filing deadlines, see the Tax Calendar.


Here's How:

  1. Create a rough draft of your tax return. Get an idea of approximately how much you owe.
  2. Download the Automatic Extension Form 4868 (PDF). Fill it out, and write a check for the approximate amount of money you owe.
  3. Mail the extension form with your check. Make sure you mail it by April 17th


Tax Extension Tips:

  • If you owe the IRS, you must pay your tax in full by April 17th. If you do not pay your tax in full, the IRS will calculate penalties and interest on your outstanding balance. The penalty for not filing is 5% per month up to a maximum penalty of 25% of the balance due. By contrast, the failure to pay penalty is 0.5% per month, plus a monthly interest charge. The bottom line? If you think you owe, file an extension!
  • Need an even easier way to file your extension and pay your taxes? Pay your tax using your credit card and file your Form 4868 all at the same time. There are two IRS-approved credit card services. One is Link2Gov which offers extension payments through Pay1040. The other IRS-approved payment service is Official Payments. Both companies charge a 2.49% convenience fee for using their service.
  • You can also file your extension using your tax preparation software. Get instructions for how to file an extension using different online tax preparation sites available on the web.
  • You can no longer file an extension using the IRS TeleFile system. TeleFile was a telephone-based service used to file extensions and other tax-related forms. TeleFile was discontinued in 2005.
  • You no longer need to request a 2nd extension (old IRS Form 2688). This form was used to request an additional 2-month extension when the first extension provided only a 4-month extension of time. Now that Form 4868 provides an automatic 6-month extension, you will no longer need to submit Form 2688.
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