Scrambling to organize your finances and pay your taxes by Wednesday? If you live outside the country or file according to the fiscal year rather than the calendar year, you might be able to file for a tax extension and get an extra six months to fill out all those forms. Here’s how to do it.
There are a few ways to file for an extension, a process that you must complete by April 15. One way is to use Internal Revenue Service’s Free File to electronically file a request for an extension. You can also use Form 4868, as long as you mail it to the IRS by April 15. These forms don’t ask you to explain why you are filing for an extension.
Just because you’re filing for an extension doesn’t mean you’ll have more time to pay what you owe. A tax extension mostly just allows you get your records in order. You still have to estimate how much you’ll owe in taxes and pay that estimated amount by April 15. If you don’t, you’ll pay interest on the amount anyway and may face a penalty as well. To pay this amount, you can use IRS Direct Pay online or by phone. If you can’t pay your taxes in full, the IRS offers payment options such as installments.
“The extension only pushes back the due date for the paperwork,” TurboTax explains. “If you owe money, you need to estimate the amount, then file your extension and make your payment by April 15.”
Don’t forget to file for an extension for your state taxes as well. You can find more information here about how to file a request for a tax extension in your state. A few states have no income tax or later deadlines, but most require residents to file returns and extensions by April 15.