If you are unable to meet the April 18 tax deadline, you may submit a six-month extension to allow time to organize your documents. You will have until Oct. 17 to file your return if you file an extension.
If you do not request an extension, late-filing penalties of up to 5% of the amount owing will be added to your return for each month you are late. These penalties will increase incrementally, up to a maximum of 25% of the outstanding balance. According to the IRS, the late filing penalty is ten times as expensive as the non-payment penalty.
The IRS offers many methods for requesting an extension to file your taxes.
Submit an Extension Request through e-mail
Individual filers can electronically request a tax-filing extension on IRS.gov using the IRS Free File. You may apply for an extension on Form 4868, but you must also estimate your tax burden and pay any balance owed on this form.
Even if you are unable to pay your entire tax debt, the IRS encourages making a partial payment to avoid incurring penalties or interest costs. Additionally, you can establish a payment plan with the IRS to repay your balance over time.
Acquire an Extension When Paying Taxes
Additionally, you can obtain an extension while making a tax payment through IRS Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or by using a credit or debit card or digital wallet. You do not need to file Form 4868 because the IRS will grant you an extension automatically if you make a tax payment.
Extensions Made Automatically
Taxpayers who qualify automatically receive an extension to file their taxes. These include the following:
Citizens of the United States and resident aliens who work outside the United States and Puerto Rico are granted a two-month extension to file their tax returns.
Military personnel assigned to duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico automatically receive a two-month extension. Individuals serving in conflict zones have 180 days after leaving the zone to file returns and pay any taxes due.
If the president declares a disaster area, the IRS has the authority to extend certain deadlines for persons and businesses in the affected area.