Even though the tax filing deadline is later than usual this year, April 17, many taxpayers may still need more time to file their tax return.
If you need extra time, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS.
Here are seven important things you need to know about filing an extension:
1. File on time even if you can’t pay If you completed your return but you are unable to pay the full amount of tax due, do not request an extension. File your return on time and pay as much as you can. To pay the balance, apply online for a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement application at www.irs.gov or send Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, with your return. If you are unable to make payments, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss your options.
2. Extra time to file 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 17 deadline, plus you may owe penalties.
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. It must be postmarked by April 17, 2012. You also can make an extension-related electronic credit card payment. For more information about extension-related credit card payments, see Form 4868.
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. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 17, 2012. The IRS will acknowledge receipt of the extension request if you e-file your extension.
5. Traditional Free File and Free File Fillable Forms You can use both Free File options to file an extension. Access the Free File page at www.irs.gov.
6. Electronic funds withdrawal If you ask for an extension via one of the electronic methods, you can also 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 the IRS website at www.irs.gov or call 800-TAX-1040 (800-829-1040).
7. How to get forms Form 4868 is available for download from the IRS website or you can pick up the form at your local IRS office.