Need more time? Here's how to file a tax extension

The deadline to file your taxes this year is Tuesday, April, 18. If you need more time, a tax extension request may be your best bet — and it's easy.
Calendar with Tax Day marked.
Posted at 3:29 PM, Apr 06, 2023

With Tax Day just around the corner, you may be feeling the pressure if you haven't filed yours yet. Luckily, there are options available to you.

When is Tax Day?

Tax Day in the U.S. is typically April 15. However, that date falls on a Saturday this year and the following Monday, April 17, is recognized as Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C.

Therefore, Tax Day this year is Tuesday, April 18. That's the final day that individual income tax returns and tax payments are due to be submitted to the federal government.

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How do I file an extension?

Whether you owe taxes and need more time to pay, or just procrastinated on filing this year, a tax extension may be best for you. Filing for an extension will give you an additional six months to file your return, giving you more time to gather your documents and complete your tax return accurately.

The process of filing a tax extension is pretty straightforward: you submit Form 4868 to the IRS. This can be done online or by mail. However, it's important to remember that the IRS must receive the form by April 18 to avoid any late fees or penalties.

When completing Form 4868, you'll need to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, and social security number. If you know you'll be getting a tax refund when you file the extension, then you won't have to worry about paying anything. However, if you think you owe, then you'll have to estimate your tax liability and pay that amount when you file Form 4868. If you don't pay, or underpay, you could risk being charged late payment penalties or interest charges.

To estimate your tax liability, you can use IRS Form 1040-ES.

It's important to note that filing for a tax extension only extends the deadline for filing your return, not for paying any taxes you owe.

What happens after I've filed for an extension?

Once you've successfully submitted Form 4868 to the IRS, you'll automatically be given a six-month extension to file your return. 

Even if you submitted your extension request before the tax deadline of April 18, some requests are rejected on or after that date. While rejections are rare, the most common reasons are misspellings and other errors on the form, or outdated information, like old addresses and names that don't match what the IRS has on record.

If your request is rejected, the IRS typically provides you a window of time to fix the issues with your request and re-submit it.

Even after you've been granted an extension, it's a good idea to file your tax return as soon as possible rather than wait the six months and risk any potential penalties or interest charges that may apply.

Overall, filing for an extension can be a good option if you need more time to prepare your return, but it's important to remember that it doesn't extend the deadline for paying any taxes owed.

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