Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

Things to Know About Getting More Time to File your Tax Return

10 April 2010

If you can’t meet the April deadline to file your tax return, you can get an automatic six month extension of time to file from the IRS.  Here are some things to know about filing an extension:

  1. Extra time to file is not an extension of time to pay.  An extension will give you extra time to get your paperwork to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the April 15 deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date. Determining this amount may require your best faith estimate.
  2. File on time even if you can’t pay.  If your return is completed but you are unable to pay the full amount of tax due, the IRS recommends that you not request an extension. Accordingly, unless there is some other compelling reason not to file on time (perhaps as advised by your professional tax advisor or professional tax return preparer), you should file your return on time and pay as much as you can. The IRS will send you a bill or notice for the balance due. If your return is prepared professionally or through tax preparation software, either should be able to provide you with an option to request a payment agreement.  Otherwise, you can apply online for a payment agreement: go to www.IRS.gov and click on the link “Online Payment Agreement Application” at the left side of the home page under Online Services. If you currently are unable to make payments, consult your professional tax advisor or call my office to learn more about your options. If you choose to proceed without professional counsel, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss your options.
  3. Form to file.  Request an extension to file by submitting Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to the IRS by April 15, 2010, or make an extension-related electronic credit card payment. For more information about extension-related credit card payments, see Form 4868. For U.S. citizens and residents that are or will be out of the country on the due date of the return, different rules apply: see the instructions attached to Form 4868 or see the link below to IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. For military personnel that are outside of the country on the due date of the return, different rules also might apply: see Form 4868 and the link below to IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.
  4. E-file extension.  You can e-file an extension request using tax preparation software with your own computer or by going to a tax preparer who has the software. The IRS will acknowledge receipt of the extension request if you file by computer.
  5. Traditional Free File and Free File Fillable Forms.  You can use both current Free File options to file an extension. Access the “Free File” page at www.IRS.gov (the link can be found at the right side of the home page under Filing and Payments).
  6. Electronic funds withdrawal.  If you ask for an extension via computer, you also can choose to pay any expected balance due by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account. You will need the appropriate bank routing and account numbers. For information about these and other methods of payment, visit IRS.gov or call 800-TAX-1040 (800-829-1040).
  7. How to get forms.  Form 4868 is available for download at www.IRS.gov (including by clicking on any of the embedded links on this page) or may be ordered by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). You also can obtain the form at your local IRS office. The IRS advises that telephone requests normally take 10 days to fill, so if you expect to file an extension and have not yet ordered the Form 4868, you should consider one of the alternate methods described above to obtain the form.

For further information about obtaining an extension, consult your professional tax advisor or tax preparer, or see the IRS website at www.IRS.gov.

Additional Links:

  • IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request (PDF 100K)
  • IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad (PDF 348K)
  • IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide (PDF 206K)
  • Official Payments Corporation  (link to officially authorized IRS federal payment provider)
  • Link2 Gov Corporation  (link to officially authorized IRS federal payment provider)