Filing your tax returns on time is important to avoid late penalties. In most cases, this means you will need to submit your 1040 forms by April 15, which is usually tax day. If the 15th is a weekend or holiday, your forms will be due the next business day.
Unfortunately, sometimes things come up and it becomes difficult or even impossible for you to meet the deadline. If you’re worried about this happening to you, it’s easy to ask for an extension of the filing deadline. However, there are some important caveats to be aware of, including the fact that a delay in deposit delay does not allow you to pay your taxes late without incurring a penalty.
Here’s what you need to know about how to file a tax extension and what the implications are.
How can you ask for more time to complete your tax returns?
If you are an individual filer and need a tax extension, all you need to do is submit one form to the IRS: Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File US Individual Income Tax Return [opens PDF].
The form can be filed by mail or you can file it online free of charge using Free File. When you submit it, you get an automatic extension of your tax filing deadline. You don’t have to wait for the IRS to approve your request for any longer.
However, you must submit your Form 4868 before your normal filing due date in order to get your extension. So if you want to delay filing your 2020 taxes, you’ll need to request more time before April 15, 2021, when your Forms 1040 would otherwise be due.
You also have the option of requesting an extension if you pay your estimated income taxes in full using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or using a credit or debit card. . If you indicate that you need an extension when making your estimated tax payment, you will not need to file Form 4868 just to have more time to file your returns.
What is the duration of the tax extension?
When you request an extension of time to file your taxes, you will have until October 15 to complete and submit your returns. Again, if October 15 falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next business day.
You should always pay your taxes on time
An extension gives you more time to file a tax return, but it does not change the deadline by which payments are due. If you owe the IRS money, you must pay it by the April deadline. Failure to do so could result in the accumulation of penalties and interest.
There is, however, an exception to this general rule. If you paid at least 90% of the amount you owe the IRS by April 15 and you requested an extension of the filing deadline before tax day, you will avoid the usual penalty for non-payment. However, you will need to pay your outstanding balance before the extended October deadline.
Always file your taxes or request an extension before the deadline
If you’re worried about your ability to file or pay your taxes, it’s best to be proactive and ask for an extension. It is also important to file your returns before the April or October deadline. same if you cannot pay the full amount due. This is because the lack of to file the penalty is substantially higher than the penalty imposed simply for failure to To pay.
If possible, you should receive your payments and returns before April so that you don’t have taxes hanging over your head for much of the following year. But if you can’t, just be sure to let the IRS know you need until October to get things done – then set aside time to make sure you meet that extended deadline to avoid consequences. potentially serious financial issues.