TAX EXTENSIONS, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
You know exactly when the tax season comes up because you have been through it year after year. Never the less, does it always seem to be pouncing on you when you least expect it? You have been diligently saving your receipts and you have been neatly organizing all your other income tax documentation but, somehow inexplicably, you are never ready for the final two steps of income tax preparation and filing.
Calm down, relax, take a deep breath and listen: you do not have to file your taxes right now because, the aforethought, Big Bad Wolf a.k.a. IRS is not as bad as you have always thought because ‘he’ will allow you to file for an income tax extension to take several more months to prepare your return.
Now that you feel better, we will discuss your tax extension options and some things you should know before proceeding.
If and when you are not ready to prepare and file your federal income tax return on time, you should file for a tax extension by submitting Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return.
By filing this form you will avoid the IRS’s five percent monthly penalty charge for late filing and you will have an additional six months (until the fifteenth of October) to file your tax returns. But please be sure to file this form by the fifteenth of April which is the same due date for filing income tax returns.
You do not have to have a valid reason to file for a tax extension. As a matter of fact, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) grants extensions to all United States taxpayers who request one on or before the fifteenth of April, and they require no explanations.
If you file for tax extension electronically, you should receive a confirmation immediately upon transmission from the website you are using, and an official confirmation directly from the Internal Revenue Services within twenty four to forty eight hours of your submission. Print these confirmations and retain them for your records just in case you need them.
As mentioned before, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) grants extensions to all taxpayers with no need for explanations. Therefore they do not reject requests for tax extensions unless an error has been found in your Form 4868 that you submitted. Be very careful and double check your entries especially of your name and the social security number. These must appear on the form exactly as they appear on your most recent Social Security Card.
Filing for a tax extension does NOT give you more time to pay additional taxes owed. You should estimate as closely as you can and pay when filing for the tax extension or as soon as possible. Any taxes owed on the fifteenth of April and not paid by then will be charged a combined rate of penalties and interest at approximately fifteen percent per year.
If you require more time to prepare and file your state income tax return, please check with your own state.
- Some states do not require that you submit a formal tax extension request, if you do not owe additional taxes, but others do.
- Some states have their own forms that need to be filed for tax extension while others will use Form 4868 that you have submitted for the federal tax extension.
Use the extra six months that have been allotted to you, by filing for your tax extension, wisely.
How to Get a IRS Tax Extension
It’s just protocol for some reason but, some taxpayers regularly file tax extensions even if they try to submit tax forms on time and can't seem to get it done. Might as well file one more piece of paper with the extension in case something happens, that way you’re covered.
When your ready to file an extension form with the IRS for filing your federal income tax return later, there are a few different ways you can do this. There are several different ways you can electronically file for an IRS tax extension, or you can do it the old fashioned way, on paper. However, even with the old way, there are a few ways to do it. Let’s take a look at all the ways to file for an IRS tax extension.
If you don’t have the desire to deal with finding the right tax software or finding your login username and password from last year, you can download, fill out, and mail the online version from the IRS website to file your IRS tax extension.
Filing for an Extension Electronically
- You can ask your tax professional to prepare an extension for you and he or she will file the necessary form 4868 as needed.
- If you use Turbo Tax software or something like it (purchased tax preparation software) you can do the same thing by yourself that your tax professional would do: file electronically with the software on a PC.
- You can use the IRS’s website to file for an extension. It’s a link from the IRS website to a third party company that has been contracted to process electronic tax filings. It’s called Free File Fillable Forms.
- You can go to the IRS website online and download IRS form 4868. Complete it and mail it to the IRS at the address given on the instructions for the form. You must submit the form by the tax due date, April 15, otherwise the IRS will consider your income tax return late.
If you extension is not filed they will send you a letter asking where your tax return is for the tax year in question. They are aware because your employer sends a copy of your W2 (Wage Earning Statement) to the IRS which informs them of your income. Any 1099s you get are also sent to the IRS by the issuer's for you.
File your Tax Extension on Paper
- You can download form 4868 from the IRS website in PDF format. You may then fill it out on your PC, print it out, and mail it in to the IRS. You can also just print out a blank one, hand write the form, then mail it to the Internal Revenue Service by snail mail.
- You may also still get IRS forms at your local post office or public library if you are without a home PC to access the IRS website.