It’s time to start making arrangements to file for an automation extension if you’re unable to file your tax return by this year’s April 18 deadline. And there’s an easy, online option to file that extension and get more time to complete their return.
If you need more time to complete your return can request an automatic six-month extension to file. There is now a free online service for filing an extension form — and you can do it with the IRS website IRS.gov. An extension allows for extra time to gather, prepare and file paperwork with the IRS; however, you should be aware that:
- An extension to file a return doesn’t grant you an extension to pay their taxes — it’s on the paperwork only,
- You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by the regular deadline (it’s April 18th this year) to help avoid possible penalties and
- You must file the extension no later than the regular due date of their return, which again is April 18.
Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use IRS Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension. The fastest and easiest way to get an extension is through the IRS Free File section on IRS.gov. Taxpayers can electronically request an extension on Form 4868. Filing this form gives taxpayers until October 17 to file their tax returns. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should timely pay any amount due.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that a request for an extension provides extra time to file a tax return, but not extra time to pay any taxes owed. Payments are still due by the original deadline. Taxpayers should file even if they can’t pay the full amount. By filing either a return on time or requesting an extension by the April 18 filing deadline, they’ll avoid the late-filing penalty, which can be 10 times as costly as the penalty for not paying.
Taxpayers who pay as much as they can by the due date, reduce the overall amount subject to penalty and interest charges. The interest rate is currently four percent per year, compounded daily. The late-filing penalty is generally five percent per month and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.
The IRS will work with taxpayers who cannot pay the full amount of tax they owe. Other options to pay, such as getting a loan or paying by credit card, may help resolve a tax debt. Most people can set up a payment plan on IRS.gov to pay off their balance over time. See our blog about this topic.
Certain eligible taxpayers get more time to file without having to ask for extensions. These include:
- S. citizens and aliens who live and work outside of the United States and Puerto Rico get an automatic two-month extension to file their tax returns. They have until June 15 to file. However, tax payments are still due on April 18 or interest will be charged.
- Members of the military on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico also receive an automatic two-month extension to file. Those serving in combat zones have up to 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file returns and pay any taxes due.
- When the President makes a disaster area declaration, the IRS can postpone certain deadlines for residents and businesses in the affected area. People can find information on the most recent tax relief for disaster situations on the IRS website.
The deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or an extension to file and pay the tax owed this year falls on April 18, instead of April 15, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia. Taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022, to file their returns due to the Patriots’ Day holiday in those states.
Disclaimer: Alan Mendelson is a well-known TV consumer news reporter who reports on tax issues. You should seek professional advice if you have tax questions or issues.