A tax extension grants you an extra six months to file, but doesn’t give you any extra time to pay
A tax extension gives you an extra six months to file your return.
You must file an extension by April 15th (or whatever the normal tax deadline is for that year). It then grants you an extra six months to file, making your new deadline October 15th.
This year for 2012 taxes, for example, if you requested an extension by April 15, 2013, your return is due by October 15, 2013.
Note an extension only give you an extra six months to file, it does not give you an extra six months to pay. When you request an extension, you will have to estimate your tax liability and pay any tax due or else you could be subject to failure-to-pay penalties starting April 15th.
E-file stays open for the current tax year from January until October 15th. So you can e-file your 2012 return anytime from now until mid-October. After the extension deadline, the IRS shuts down e-file to get ready for the upcoming tax season. After October 15th you will have to paper file your 2012 return which can be quite a hassle.
E-file really is the best way to file: it’s easier, faster, safer, and greener. Not to mention the fact that you’ll get your refund in a matter of weeks when you e-file, instead of several months when you paper file.
And if you didn’t request an extension back in April, don’t panic. One of the dirty little secrets of tax filing is that you won’t get charged any penalties or interest at all if you are due a refund from the IRS. That’s right, if you are getting money back you can file right now without suffering any negative consequences other than getting your refund a few months late.
And if you do owe money, the only way to minimize the amount due is file as soon as possible so that penalties and interest stop accumulating.
If you still haven’t file a 2012 return yet, you can do so right here on RapidTax. You can e-file anytime between now and October 15th. If you have a simple return you might even be able to do it for free. Create an account today to get started on your 2012 return.
Photo via martinak15 on Flickr.