Taxpayers who cannot complete their tax returns by the deadline for filing have the option of filing a federal income tax extension with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).*
The extension automatically gives taxpayers an additional 6 months to file their federal income tax returns. Taxpayers can file for an income tax extension without citing a reason or explanation.
Filing an IRS tax extension is for time only-not for payment! Taxpayers owing money in taxes must pay at the time of filing their extension. Taxpayers who pay less than 90 percent of their total tax by the April deadline will have to pay interest plus a late payment penalty.
Tax extensions are available for individual tax payers as well as for corporations, partnerships, REMICs, and certain trusts. Extension due dates for businesses vary according to the way in which the business is organized.
Federal income tax extensions can be filed online (e-file) or by mail by completing File Form 4868. A separate extension must be filed for state taxes.
Though most states use the same filing deadlines as the IRS, taxpayers should check their state's deadlines to find out the duration of the extension.
All federal income tax extensions must be filed by the April tax deadline. Taxpayers who know they will need an IRS tax extension are encouraged to file one as early as possible.
Note: taxpayers who complete their tax returns but are unable to pay the full amount of taxes owed SHOULD NOT file an extension. Instead, they should pay as much as they can and the IRS will send a bill of the balance due.
* The deadline for filing tax returns is typically April 15, with a 6 month deadline of October 15.