How to File a Tax Extension

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Still haven't filed your taxes? The IRS gives taxpayers an automatic federal tax extension, giving you an extra 6 months to file taxes.

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 taxpayers 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

How to File a Tax Extension
Don’t stress – filing a tax extension is easy!

Filing a tax extension is easy and FREE. All you need to do is fill out Tax Form 4868, and mail it to the IRS. You can also send it to the IRS from a tax software program like TurboTax or H&R Block Online.

Here are some resources to help you file for a tax extension electronically, or by mail.

E-File your tax extension for free:

How to File your Tax Extension By Mail:

All you need to do is download the form, fill it out, and mail it in. Be sure to include the estimated amount you will owe on your taxes.

  • 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.

Where to File a Paper Form 4868 – Federal Tax Extension:

Mail your paper form 4868 to the following address. Be sure to note there are two addresses – one for form 4868 with a payment, and one without a payment.

If you live in:Form 4868 with paymentForm 4868 without payment
Internal Revenue Service:Department of the Treasury,
Internal Revenue Service Center:
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South CarolinaP.O. Box 105050 Atlanta, GA 30348-5050Atlanta, GA 39901-0002
Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, VermontP.O. Box 37009 Hartford, CT 06176-0009Kansas City, MO 64999-0002
Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, TexasP.O. Box 1302 Charlotte, NC 28201-1302Austin, TX 73301-0002
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, WashingtonP.O. Box 7122 San Francisco, CA 94120-7122Fresno, CA 93888-0002
Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, WyomingP.O. Box 802503 Cincinnati, OH 45280-2503Fresno, CA 93888-0002
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, West VirginiaP.O. Box 970028 St. Louis, MO 63197-0028Kansas City, MO 64999-0002
American Samoa or Puerto Rico (or exclude income under section 933); are a nonpermanent resident of Guam or the Virgin Islands*; have an APO or FPO or foreign address; are a nonresident alien or dual-status alien; or file Form 2555, 2555-EZ, or 4563.P.O. Box 1302 Charlotte, NC 28201-1302Austin, TX 73301-0215 USA

*Permanent residents of Guam should use: Department of Revenue and Taxation, Government of Guam, P.O. Box 23607, GMF, GU 96921; permanent residents of the Virgin Islands should use: V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue, 9601 Estate Thomas, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI 00802.

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 are a procrastinator like me. 🙂

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Anum says

    I didn’t know about overseas citizens being allowed longer extensions. I guess you really do learn something new everyday. Thanks Ryan!

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