I still haven’t filed my taxes. I know, I’m running out of time. I don’t really have an excuse other than trying to do too many things at once. I should have time to finish my taxes this weekend, but for those of you looking to file for a free extension, you can still do that.
The IRS allows tax payers to apply for an automatic 6 month extension to file their taxes. There is one big caveat though – if you owe money on your tax return, at least 90% of the balance is due on April 15th, regardless of whether or not you have filed your taxes or not.
How to File a Tax Extension
Filing a tax extension is easy and FREE. All you need to do is fill out Tax Form 4868, and mail it in to the IRS. You can also send it in to the IRS from a tax software program like TurboTax or H&R Block @Home. Here are some resources to help you file for a tax extension electronically, or by mail.
E-File your tax extension for free:
File your tax extension manually:
- Download Tax Form 4868 from the IRS website. You can also pick one up at an IRS office or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
- Fill it out and send it in via mail.
- Send in the amount you owe on your taxes, or at least an estimate. You will need to send in 90% of your actual total to avoid late fees or penalties.
Automatic tax extension deadline – but you have to request it. You must file a request for an automatic extension by April 15th. Once you have your extension you have 6 months to file your taxes. After October 15th, your taxes are considered late and you may be subject to penalties.
What happens if you don’t file your taxes? If you don’t file your taxes, you may be subject to penalties, fees, or even jail time if it is determined that your intent was to defraud the government. Find out more about what happens if you don’t file your taxes.
Longer Extension for Military Members and Overseas Citizens
Some military members may qualify for an extension longer than 6 months, especially if they served in tax free zones in the current or previous year. Here is more information about military member tax deadline extensions. American civilians working overseas may also be able to file for a longer extension. Here is more information from the IRS.
An extension can be a good idea if you have a particularly complex tax situation, or if you are a procrastinator like me.
Photo Credit: Steve Woods.