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Automatic Filing Extension - Form 4868

If you need extra time to file your return, you can file Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The IRS allows you to file an extension for an extra six months. You'll have until Oct. 15 to file your return. You must file your extension by the regular tax deadline.

Estimated tax liability

Although the filing extension gives you more time to file your return, it doesn't give you extra time to pay the taxes you owe. So you must estimate how much you owe and pay the amount due when you file Form 4868.

If you do make a payment, include it in the Payments section of your Form 1040 when you file. If you don't pay the full amount you owe, the IRS will charge you interest on the unpaid balance until you pay the full amount.

If you don't pay at least 90% of the amount you owe, you might also be subject to a late payment penalty. The penalty is usually half of 1% of the amount owed for each month, up to a maximum of 25%.

If you don't file either your return or Form 4868 by April 15, you'll be subject to a late filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of the amount you owe for each month, up to a maximum of 25%.

Special rules for those abroad

You have two extra months to file your return and pay the amount due without requesting an extension if both of these apply:

  • You're a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
  • You're out of the country on the filing due date.

“Out of the country” means either of these:

  • You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Also, your main place of work is outside the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • You're in the military and serve outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Military personnel in a combat zone usually get even more time. If you qualify, you don't have to file a form to request the additional time. You should include a statement with your return explaining why you qualify for the later deadline.

Most states allow an extension of the filing deadline. Check with your state for restrictions.

If you're receiving a refund, the earlier you file, the earlier you'll receive your refund.

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