How do I file an extension on my taxes

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Here’s how to get an extra six months to file your 2021 tax return.


Key points

  • If you need more time to file your tax return, you are entitled to a six-month extension.
  • You must apply for your extension in a timely manner, but it will be automatically approved if you file it on time.
  • You will still have to pay your taxes on the original due date, even if you get an extension.

For the 2021 tax year, personal income tax returns are due by Monday, April 18, 2022. However, the IRS recognizes that not all taxpayers can meet the deadline for one reason or another. Maybe you’re waiting for the documents you need to submit with your return, or maybe you need more time to track down the receipts.

To accommodate such situations, the IRS allows a six-month tax extension for anyone who needs it. So if you need more time to file your 2021 tax return, here’s what to know about filing an extension and other important details.

What is a tax extension and what it is not?

First, it’s important to realize that a tax extension gives you more time to file your tax return, no more time to Pay any balance you owe. Your 2021 tax payment (or at least your best estimate of what it will be) is still due by the normal April tax deadline.

A tax extension gives you six months from the usual standard deadline of April 15 to file your tax return. So the extended tax deadline is October 15 – unless a weekend gets in the way, which it does in 2022. Long story short, if you file for an extension this year, you have up to Monday, October 17 to file your 2021 tax return.

Before we get to the “how”, one final point to keep in mind is that even if you are technically request an extension is an automatic process. If you file an extension before the April 18 tax deadline, you’ll get the extra time.

How to file a tax extension

If you need to file an extension for your taxes, you have several options.

You can print IRS Form 4868, Request for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Personal Income Tax Return, and mail it to the IRS. And to clarify, if your submission is postmarked before the tax deadline, it is considered on time, even if it arrives a few days after the deadline.

For an alternative (and easier) method, you can file an extension electronically through a tax software provider. For example, if you usually use TurboTax to file your return, you can also use this platform to file an extension. You can also find a tax preparation software partner on IRS Free File and submit your extension.

If you can’t pay, deposit anyway

A tax extension can be a valuable tool if it is impossible or impractical to file your return by the deadline. But again, it’s do not a way to delay paying your taxes. If you are unable to pay the tax you owe for 2021, you must still file your return (or an extension).

Without going into too much detail, the penalty for failing to file your tax return in a timely manner is 10 times higher than the penalty for failing to pay. You are charged interest and penalties on any outstanding balance, but this is much better than the alternative.

The bottom line is that the IRS makes filing an extension quick, easy, and automatic. Even if you can’t pay, be sure to file your tax return or an extension before the April 18 deadline.

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