How Do I File a Tax Extension?
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
If the tax deadline snuck up on you and your tax return is nowhere near ready to be submitted, don’t worry—you do have options. If you file for an automatic extension by April 15, you can give yourself an additional six months to file your paperwork and avoid penalties for late payments.
How do I file a tax extension?
Use Form 4868 to request additional time to file your 2013 tax return beyond April 15. You can file the form electronically or by mail. While a tax extension does give you more time to file, it will not give you additional time to pay what you owe.
This extension is granted automatically, so you will not receive anything in the mail confirming it.
When you file an income tax extension for your personal tax return, you get six more months to file, which means you will have until October 15 for your 2013 taxes. If you are living outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico, you can file for an automatic two-month extension if, on the due date of your return, one of the following is true:
The IRS website has additional information about filing for an extension when you are not living in the U.S., as well as more information on filing extensions for corporations, partnerships, and certain trusts.
(Preparing your taxes? Click here for your must-have 2014 tax filing checklist)
More time to file, not more time to pay
Before you file an extension, you need to know if you’re going to owe any money. When I file extensions for my clients, I prepare a tax return based on the W-2s and 1099s my clients have given me, and I estimate their expenses based on what I know about them. That way, I can come up with either a reasonable number for the refund or a reasonable expectation of a balance due.
Why do I go through this exercise? Because the IRS can disallow the extension if the agency feels the amount owed is not realistic. For instance, if you file Form 4868 and say you are owed a refund, but you end up owing $10,000, the IRS can say your extension was not valid and charge you penalties on what you owe.
On the other hand, if you “timely requested an extension of time to file and paid at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe with your request, you may not face a failure-to-pay penalty,” according to the IRS website. You must pay the remaining balance by the extended due date.
If you’re short on cash but owe money to the IRS, send in what you can afford when you file an extension. You can reduce the amount you owe in interest and penalties by paying as much as you’re able to afford by April 15.
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com ®, where your tax questions are answered. She is the author of several books and ebooks, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.