These days, life can really be hectic and something is bound to be forgotten in the shuffle, even filing your income tax return. If you can’t get it completed by April 15, you can file for an automatic extension of time to file to give yourself something very precious — time.
Tax-filing extensions are available if you need more time to finish your return. Remember, this is an extension of time to file, not an extension of time to pay. All tax payments are still due by April 15. However, taxpayers who are having trouble paying what they owe usually qualify for payment plans and other relief.
Either way, you’ll avoid stiff penalties if you file either a regular income tax return or a request for a tax-filing extension by this year’s April 15 deadline. You should file, even if you can’t pay the full amount due. Here are further details on the options available to file an extension.
More Time to File
If you haven’t finished filling out your return, the fastest, easiest and free way to get an automatic six-month extension is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868. This is the next best option after requesting an extension through a trusted tax preparer.
Filing this form gives you until October 15 to file a return. To get the extension, you must estimate your tax liability on this form and pay any amount due.
By properly filing this form, you’ll avoid the late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month based on the unpaid balance that applies to returns filed after the deadline. In addition, any payment made with an extension request reduces or eliminates interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after April 15.
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