How to Apply a Tax Filing Extension

The extension only extends the due date for the paperwork--not for the money you owe.

tax extension sheetJust in case you didn’t know—your taxes were due yesterday.  If you just didn’t get around to filing, you’ll be happy to know that you can request an extension. (You can even get a filing extension if you failed to file your 2010 tax returns.)

Read on for instructions on how to file for an extension.

In certain circumstances, asking for an extension is not appropriate. The IRS says taxpayers should not file for an extension if their problem has to do with being unable to pay their tax bill. They suggest filing your return on time and paying as much as you can. You can apply online for a payment agreement by visiting the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov and clicking “Apply for an Online Payment Agreement (OPA).” You can also call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

Know that taxpayers who didn’t file their 2010 returns aren’t the only ones who can get a break. If you are unable to file the current year’s tax returns on time, you can get an automatic six-month extension. But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and do nothing until you get around to it.

The IRS requires late filers to formally file for an extension. However, the extension only extends the due date for the paperwork. If you owe money, you’ll have to estimate how much you owe and then make your payment by April 15, 2014. You can find more information in IRS Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

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