Haven’t filed your taxes yet? You still have time to get an extension from the IRS
NOTNeed more time to file your taxes? Good news: It’s surprisingly easy to ask the IRS for a later due date.
In fact, if a few days of leeway is all it takes, you’re in luck. Although tax day is usually April 15, most people’s taxes are actually due on Monday, April 18 of this year due to Emancipation Day, a recognized holiday in Washington, D.C. Due to tornadoes , forest fires and other natural disasters, residents of some states have additional time to file, as well.
But if that’s not enough, you’ll need to request a tax extension from the IRS to give you more time to get your 2021 taxes in order. Here’s how.
Request a tax extension from the IRS
Before you go any further, know this from the start: a tax extension will only push back the deadline for filing your tax return by six months. This extension will not change the due date of the money you need to pay the IRS.
In other words, a tax extension will give you until October 17 of this year to gather your documents and file your return.
The extension process depends on whether you have overpaid taxes – and are waiting for a tax refund – or underpaid taxes – and owe money to the IRS.
If you are expecting a tax refund
The majority of taxpayers receive refunds from the IRS, so it is likely that you should file your extension following these guidelines. Requesting an extension to file your tax return is relatively simple. You can do this online or by mail.
However, online methods are highly recommended, as the IRS has a huge backlog of paperwork. (The National Taxpayer Advocate, the IRS’ internal watchdog, recently called the paper “IRS kryptonite” because the agency lacks the proper infrastructure to process physical forms in a timely manner. , resulting in significant delays for millions of people.)
For online tax extension requests, you can get started using the IRS’ free file tools. You will have two main options:
- If you have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $73,000 or less, you can use guided tax software to submit your claim and avoid filling out forms directly.
- If you have an AGI greater than $73,000 — or prefer to complete the application yourself — you can use the IRS’ free fillable forms tool to manually complete and submit Form 4868, aka the extension request.
If you are unable to submit your extension request online, you can print out Form 4868 and complete it by hand. Then send the completed form directly to the Treasury Department. The exact IRS location you will need to send it to depends on your state; you will find the corresponding address on the last page of the form.
If you owe the IRS
If you owe the IRS, you’ll still have to make a payment by April 18 or face penalties and interest. When you make a payment — or pay your tax bill in full — the IRS automatically processes a tax extension for your return, which means you won’t have to fill out additional forms to request more time.
However, let’s say you’re not sure if you can submit your payment before tax day. In this case, you would like to need to request an extension.
The process is the same as described above: you can use the free IRS file tools or submit Form 4868. If you are not using tax preparation software and you actually need to complete paperwork, be prepared to do some math. On lines #4 through #7, you will need to estimate how much you owe and how much you will pay. (Note: This does not mean you should include payment with this form. It is only an estimate.)
Finally, the IRS offers short-term and long-term payment plans for those who have trouble paying their tax bills by the deadline. Joining a plan can help you mitigate significant tax penalties.
Tax extension FAQ
How do I know if my extension has been approved?
Will a tax extension give me more time to pay my tax bill?
Will the IRS charge me if I don’t file my tax return on time?
Does the IRS tax extension affect my income tax deadline?
Do I have to complete a tax extension if I work abroad?
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