How to Get an Extension to File Taxes


Procrastinators of the world unite. If you can't complete your tax forms by the April 15 deadline, you can request an extension. Unfortunately the extension only applies for the paperwork, you will still need to pay the IRS everything you believe you owe them by April 15.

Things You'll Need

  • IRS Forms
  • Financial Calculator
  • Postage Stamps
  • Envelopes

Determine whether or not you're going to owe more taxes. An extension to file does not help unless you also send in additional taxes owed.

Get a copy of Form 4868. It's a one-page form.

Fill in your name and Social Security number (both names and numbers if you're married and filing jointly).

Write on line 4 what you calculate to be the amount of tax due for your taxable income and filing status. The IRS frowns on frivolous estimates.

Fill in line 5 with the amount of federal tax you had withheld and any amount you paid in estimated taxes for the year.

Subtract line 5 from line 4. If you're getting a refund, enter "0" on line 6. Otherwise, enter the amount of tax due on lines 6 and 9.

Write on line 10 the amount of money you are mailing in with this form. Try to pay as much of the amount you owe as possible.

Tear off the bottom portion of the page, and place it in an envelope addressed to the IRS center to which you normally send your tax return.

Enclose a check or money order made out to the U.S. Treasury Department. Write your Social Security number, the tax year and "Form 4868" on the check or money order.

Mail the envelope so that it is postmarked April 15 or earlier.

Tips & Warnings

  • Skip sections II and IV unless you owe the gift tax or generation-skipping transfer tax. If you do owe these taxes, your tax preparer will probably be filling out the form for you.
  • If you're out of the country on April 15, you have an automatic two-month extension, and you don't need to file Form 4868.
  • You can also get an extension and make a payment by phone using your credit card. You'll be charged a fee for this. Call (888) 2PAY-TAX begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (888) 2PAY-TAX      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (888) 2PAY-TAX      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (888) 2PAY-TAX      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
  • Be prepared to file your tax return on or before August 15. It's not so easy to get a second extension.
  • Check your state tax laws to see if you also need to send the state tax office a specific extension form and additional payment.

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