Today is the deadline for filing taxes. But maybe you’ve been too busy to get to it, or you’re a business owner who hasn’t received all the information or forms you need to file on time. Well procrastinators, listen up! Getting an extension on your taxes is easy–and will allow you up until October 17 to file. An extension can help avoid the failure-to-file penalty, which may be up to 10 times higher than the late-payment penalty. Here are the following steps to take in order to get an extension on your taxes.
How to Get an Extension on Your Taxes
- Estimate taxes owed: Estimate the amount of taxes you will owe for the year. Subtract the total tax withheld from your paycheck and your estimated tax payments from the amount of tax you owe. Be sure to reduce your income by all exemptions and deductions you anticipate claiming. You can then estimate the tax you owe by using the tax tables in the instructions to your tax return. If you still owe tax, you should include a payment when requesting the extension. If you pay too little, you may owe interest and penalties.
- Complete Form 4868: You should complete Form 4868 for individual tax filers. You will need to include your name, address, and Social Security number. You can also get an extension by paying all or part of your estimated income tax due via credit or debit card. If you’re a business entity, use Form 7004. If you’re a corporation, use Form 1138. For a complete list of forms, visit the official IRS website.
- Mail the form: Mail Form 4868 to the appropriate IRS address for your geographic area listed in the instructions. Remember, you need to mail the form by the original due date of your tax return.
You can also e-file your extension form for free by using any of the Free File software companies. Members of the military, U.S. citizens living abroad, and those affected by recent natural disasters are also eligible for getting an extension on their taxes without having to ask. Those struggling with unpaid taxes qualify for one of several relief programs, including an Online Payment Agreement with the IRS or an Offer-In-Compromise.