Explore All Topics

How do I file an extension for taxes?

4 min read

4 min read

You can file an extension for your taxes this tax year by submitting IRS Form 4868 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) online or by mail. This must be done before the last day for filing taxes. Filing an extension for your taxes gives you additional months to prepare your tax return no matter the reason you need the extra time.

Filing a tax extension documents.

What is a tax extension?

Each tax season, some taxpayers will ask, “How do I get an extension for my taxes?” But they might be thinking of the taxes owed and not the tax return itself.

This question calls attention to a key distinction about what a tax extension is — and what it is not. A tax extension is a request for additional time to file your federal income tax return. But take note: Filing an tax extension only gives you more time to finish the paperwork, not more time to pay your tax bill.

What is the tax extension deadline?

Your tax payment is still due on the tax deadline, which typically falls on April 15 or on the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday. For the 2023 tax year (taxes filed in 2024), tax extensions submitted by April 15 moves the filing deadline to October 15.

  • If you know you’ll be getting a refund, you won’t need to worry about paying when you are filing an extension for taxes. The earlier you file your return, the earlier you’ll receive your refund.
  • If you think or know you’ll owe, you should estimate what you’ll owe (see below) and pay the estimated tax amount due when you file Form 4868.

Is there a penalty for filing a federal tax extension?

Filing a tax extension is not a bad thing. There is no penalty for filing a tax extension. However, not paying on time or enough, or failing to file altogether, may cost you.

  • If you don’t pay the full amount you owe, the IRS will charge you interest on the unpaid tax 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 the tax filing deadline for the given taxy year, you’ll be subject to a late filing penalty. The penalty is usually 5% of the amount you owe for each month, up to a maximum of 25%.

After you file the extension, you’ll have until October 15 to gather your documents and finish your filing.  When you complete your return, you should include the amount you’ve already paid in the payments section of your Form 1040.

How to file a tax extension: Can you file a tax extension online?

Form 4868 is the IRS form you complete to receive an automatic extension to file your return. You can file a tax extension online in one of several ways with H&R Block. While you won’t be filling out the paper Form 4868 line-by-line, your tax extension information will be sent online to the IRS.

Here’s how to get an extension on your taxes with H&R Block*

If you’re not ready to file your tax return, don’t let Tax Day go by without filing for an income tax extension.

  • File your tax extension online on your own – Start with an existing H&R Block Online account or create a new one to submit your extension. To get started, once you are logged in, look for the “File an extension” link under the Tax Filing Resources header on the Overview tab. Our program will ask you all the relevant questions, so you can file your extension with the IRS.
  • File your tax extension with a tax pro Make an appointment with an H&R Block tax pro to submit your tax extension. You can work with on of our tax professionals in-person, virtually or by drop off.

Not sure you’ll be able to pay your tax bill? The IRS offers payment options to help you pay off your bill (see IRS payment plans).

Don’t live in the United States? Find out how to file an extension when you’re living abroad from our Expat Tax Services team.

* Fees may apply.

Was this topic helpful?