Filing an Income Tax Extension
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If you can’t complete your federal tax return by the April 15 deadline for 2007 returns, you can buy more time. File IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, to push the deadline back six months to October 15, 2008.
There’s a catch, though: the extension only pushes back the due date of the paperwork. If you’ll owe money with your return, you’re supposed to estimate the bill and send in a check along with Form 4868 by April 15.
Tax Extension – Three Ways to Apply
Use TurboTax or a similar tax software
Use TurboTax to estimate what you owe and prepare Form 4868. Then print and mail it in (also including a payment if you’ll owe—or pay by credit card over the phone) on or before April 15, 2008. You also can use TurboTax to find out about extensions for state returns. Phone or log on to a service provider.
You may file for an extension by phone or over the Internet through a service provider, such as Official Payments Corporation. Your payment must be at least $1 and each service provider will charge you a convenience fee based on the amount of the payment you are making. Call or log on to the Web site of your chosen service provider. Follow their instructions. Pay by credit card on or before April 15. File your complete return by October 15, 2008.
Print the form and fill it out by hand.
Refer to IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File. Print the form and instructions. Fill out the form and send it to the IRS address for your state. If you owe federal taxes, include your payment with your Form 4868 and mail it—postmark by April 15, 2008. (If you don’t make a payment for the taxes due, you could be liable for penalties and interest, even if you’ve filed for an extension.) Then complete and file your return on or before October 15. Cautions
- If the IRS thinks your estimate is unreasonable, they may disallow your extension and assess a penalty for filing late tax returns.
- If you underestimate your taxes, you’ll have to pay interest on whatever amount you fail to pay by April 15.
- If you pay less than 90 percent of the tax you owe, you’ll end up owing a penalty of 0.5 percent of the underpayment every month until you pay the balance. For example, if you pay $600 on April 15, but discover when you complete your return that you really owe $1000, you will owe 0.5 percent per month on the $400 that is overdue, or about $2 a month, until you pay the balance in full.
If You Live Outside the U.S.
If you live outside the United States, you may be able to get an extension by filing Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return if you believe you will qualify for special tax treatment. See IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, to learn if this form might help you. Do You Need to Request a State Tax Extension?
State tax extension guidelines vary. To see detailed information about state extension filing deadlines and mailing addresses, select your state of interest from our list of state tax authority Web sites.