IRS Form 4868 – How to File a Tax Extension

To get an IRS extension, file Form 4868 before Tuesday, April 17

We’re down to the last week of the tax season, and if you’re not scrambling to finish your return, you’re probably wondering, “How do I get a tax extension?”

The answer is IRS Form 4868 [Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return]. File it by April 17 and you can get an extra six months to do your return.

You can file Form 4868 electronically. There’s no need to go through the hassle of printing it out and mailing it in to the IRS.

Plus, you can take comfort knowing that you will receive an electronic acknowledgement as soon as you e-file the form. You won’t have to deal with the stress of waiting to find out whether your request for an extension was accepted – and then scramble to get your return done if it wasn’t.

When you e-file your extension, or your actual return for that matter, be sure to have a copy of your 2010 tax return on hand. You’ll need some information, specifically your 2010 AGI, in order to verify your identity.

Before you file for an extension, you should know that an extension only gives you an additional six months – until October 15 – to file your return. It does not, however, give you an additional six months to pay. On Form 4868 you must estimate your tax liability and then pay what you owe, either by electronic funds withdrawal, check, or money order.

You can still get an extension even if you don’t pay, but then your taxes will be considered late. An extension ensures you won’t incur any failure-to-file penalties for those six months, but you can still incur both failure-to-pay penalties and interest on your unpaid taxes.

It definitely makes sense to pay when you file the extension in April – don’t use it as a means to avoid paying your taxes. It’s really meant for people who are buried under paperwork and need more time to get it all sorted out.

When you do file your return, sometime between April and October,  the difference between what you paid in estimated tax liability and your actual tax liability will be made up with either a refund or an additional payment.

If you need to file an extension, you don’t have to go rooting through the IRS website – you can file Form 4868 right here on RapidTax. All you have to do is create an account to get started. File your extension today and then you can take your time completing your return with RapidTax’s quick and easy tax program.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012 at 12:22 pm and is filed under Tax Tips.

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