Learn how to secure an extension for filing your taxes with this comprehensive step-by-step guide. Discover the necessary forms and guidelines for obtaining an extension, ensuring you meet the deadline stress-free.

How to Get an Extension on Your Taxes: A Step-By-Step Guide

Learn how to secure an extension for filing your taxes with this comprehensive step-by-step guide. Discover the necessary forms and guidelines for obtaining an extension, ensuring you meet the deadline stress-free.

How to Get an Extension on Your Taxes: A Step-By-Step Guide

Tax season can be a stressful time of year for many people. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may find that you need more time to file your taxes. Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows taxpayers to request an extension. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps on how to get an extension on your taxes and provide valuable information to make the process as smooth as possible.

Understand the Basics

Before you start the process of requesting a tax extension, it's essential to understand the basics. Here's what you need to know:

2. Estimate Your Tax Liability

If you owe taxes, it's important to estimate the amount you'll need to pay. Filing for an extension only extends the time to file your return, not the time to pay taxes. If you don't pay at least 90% of what you owe by the original tax deadline, you may be subject to penalties and interest.

3. Complete IRS Form 4868

To request a tax extension, you'll need to fill out Form 4868. Here's how to do it:

4. Submit Your Form 4868

Once you've completed the form and made the payment, it's time to submit it to the IRS. You have a few options:

5. Keep a Copy for Your Records

It's always a good practice to keep a copy of the Form 4868 for your records. This can be useful in case you need to reference it in the future.

6. File Your Return by the Extended Deadline

With the extension in place, you'll have until October 15th to file your tax return. Make sure to complete your return accurately and submit it by this date to avoid any further penalties and interest.

Common Reasons for Filing an Extension

Filing a tax extension is a common practice for various reasons:

Penalties for Not Filing an Extension

Failing to file for an extension or missing the extended deadline can result in penalties and interest charges. Here's what you might face if you don't request an extension or miss the extended deadline:

Tax Extensions and State Taxes

It's important to note that while a federal tax extension gives you extra time to file your federal return, it doesn't necessarily grant an extension for your state tax return. Each state has its own rules and procedures for requesting extensions, so be sure to check with your state's taxing authority to understand the specific requirements.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Here are a few additional tips and considerations when requesting a tax extension:


Filing for a tax extension can be a lifesaver when you need more time to prepare your tax return. The process is straightforward, and it's a legitimate way to get extra time without incurring penalties for late filing. Just remember to estimate and pay your tax liability by the original deadline if you owe money to the IRS. With these steps, you can manage your tax season stress and ensure your taxes are filed correctly and on time. Whether you're dealing with a complex tax situation or unforeseen life events, a tax extension can provide the breathing room you need to file your taxes accurately and in compliance with IRS regulations.

Don't wait until the last minute – take the necessary steps to secure your extension and file your taxes with confidence.

By following the guidelines in this comprehensive guide, you'll be well-prepared to navigate the process of requesting a tax extension, allowing you to manage your tax responsibilities effectively and alleviate the stress that often accompanies tax season.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a tax extension, and why would I need one?

A tax extension is an additional period of time granted by the IRS to file your tax return. You might need one if you can't complete your return by the original deadline, which is typically April 15th for individuals.

Is it possible to get an extension for state taxes as well?

State tax extension rules vary by state. Some states automatically grant an extension if you've been approved for a federal extension, while others require you to apply separately.

Will getting a tax extension affect my chances of being audited?

No, filing for a tax extension does not increase your chances of being audited.

Can I e-file my extension request, or do I have to mail it in?

You can e-file your extension request using tax preparation software, IRS Free File, or through the services of a tax professional. E-filing is generally faster and more convenient than mailing a paper form.

Do I have to pay a fee for filing a tax extension?

Filing a tax extension itself does not incur a fee. However, if you owe taxes and make a payment after the original deadline, you may be subject to penalties and interest on the unpaid balance.

What happens if I don't file my return by the extended deadline?

If you don't file your tax return by the extended deadline, you could face penalties and interest on any unpaid taxes.

Can I file for an extension if I'm due a refund?

Yes, you can file for a tax extension even if you're expecting a refund, but it's usually best to file your return to receive your refund sooner.

What should I do if my financial situation changes after I've filed for an extension?

If your financial situation changes and you can't pay your taxes by the extended deadline, contact the IRS to discuss possible payment arrangements or other options.

Can I file for multiple extensions if I still can't complete my tax return by the extended deadline?

The IRS generally does not grant additional extensions beyond the automatic six-month extension.

Is there a maximum number of times I can file for a tax extension?

There is no set limit to the number of times you can file for a tax extension, but it's important to use extensions sparingly and aim to meet original deadlines when possible.

Additional Resources

  1. IRS Official Website: IRS.gov
  2. State Tax Authorities: Check your state's taxing authority website for state-specific extension information.
  3. IRS Free File: IRS Free File
  4. IRS Phone Support: For individual inquiries, call 1-800-829-1040; for business inquiries, call 1-800-829-4933.
  5. Tax Professionals: Consult a tax professional for personalized guidance.
  6. IRS Publication 17: Access Publication 17, "Your Federal Income Tax," on the IRS website.
  7. IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service: Taxpayer Advocate Service
  8. Library of Congress Tax Research Guide: Tax Research Guide
  9. Online Tax Communities: Explore online tax communities for peer support and advice.

Utilize these resources to navigate the tax extension process and ensure compliance with tax regulations while minimizing potential penalties and interest.

I hope this information was helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us here. I’d be happy to chat with you.

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Being audited is comparable to being struck by lightning. You don't want to practice pole vaulting in a thunderstorm just because it's unlikely. Making sure your books are accurate and your taxes are filed on time is one of the best ways to keep your head down during tax season. Check out Vincere's take on tax season!

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This post is just for informational purposes and is not meant to be legal, business, or tax advice. Regarding the matters discussed in this post, each individual should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor. Vincere accepts no responsibility for actions taken in reliance on the information contained in this document.

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