File a tax extension and get an extra six months to complete your tax return
The tax filing deadline is still over a month away, but no doubt many of you are already staring at the mound of tax documents and receipts strewn across your desk and realizing that you’re not going to be able to make the deadline.
Never fear! The IRS will give you a six month extension on your taxes without slapping you with the nasty failure-to-file penalty that often accompanies a late tax return.
To get an extension all you have to do is file Form 4868 [Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return] by the normal tax deadline. This date is usually April 15, but for the 2012 tax season it’s April 17.
While it tends to be pretty easy to get an extension, the bad news is that you don’t get any extra time to pay. Form 4868 actually requires that you estimate (and pay) your tax liability. Basically, an extension only grants you extra time to turn in your paperwork, not extra time to pay your tax bill.
If you don’t pay, the IRS may still grant you an extension, but your taxes will be considered late and penalties and interest will accrue to them. Paying your estimated tax debt when you file for an extension is the only way to avoid getting charged a failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalty, as well as any interest on your unpaid tax debt.
After you file your extension and pay your estimated tax bill, you have six months – until October 15 – to file your completed return. Then, the difference between your actual tax liability and what you paid as estimated tax back in April will be made up with either a refund or an additional payment.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident who is “out of the country” you should note that you only have an additional four months to file if you receive an extension. But even without filing an extension, you get an extra two months to file your return and pay your taxes due.
You can file an extension right here with PriorTax. Just create an account to get started. Then, after you file an extension, you can relax and take your time over the next six months to complete your return with our fast, easy, and reliable tax application.
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