Instructions for IRS Form 4868

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Like all aspects of tax filing, filling out Tax Form 4868 can be a bit daunting. Luckily, you’re in the right place to learn how to file an extension application without being penalized by the IRS. Here is a step-by-step guide that you can follow to request a personal tax extension.

 

Part 1: Identification

Line 1: Name and Address

The very first thing you are required to provide is your identifying information. On the first line, you must enter your name and address. In the case of a joint income tax return, both spouses’ names should be entered in the order they appear on your tax return documentation.

If there has been a change in your name since the last time you filed taxes (due to marriage, divorce, or any other reason), the Social Security Administration (SSA) must be notified of the change before you submit IRS Form 4868. If you don’t get the name properly registered with the SSA beforehand, your tax extension application process will be delayed.

If you want to have IRS tax extension notices mailed to an address besides your own, you need to enter that address in Part I instead. If there has been a change in your address since the last time you filed taxes, you will be required to fill out Tax Form 8822 (Change of Address) to inform the IRS. Note that if you provide a new address on your tax extension application without submitting Form 8822, your records with the IRS will not be automatically updated.

Lines 2 and 3: Social Security Number(s)

Provide your Social Security Number (SSN) on Line 2 of Form 4868. For those who are filing their taxes jointly, Line 3 is reserved for your spouse’s Social Security Number.

For nonresidents and resident aliens who don’t have a SSN and are not eligible for one, their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) must be provided instead. While an ITIN is not required to file Form 4868, it is required to file your income tax return. Therefore, you should apply for an ITIN from the IRS as early as possible. For the time being, you can write “ITIN TO BE REQUESTED” on the line where it asks for a SSN. See IRS Form W-7 for more information.

 

Part 2: Individual Income Tax

When filling out Tax Form 4868, you have the option to round-off the cents to the nearest whole dollar. However, there are a few things you should remember when doing this. First off, if you decide to round-off one figure, you will have to do it for all the numbers on the form. The rules are: any amount below 50 cents should be rounded down to the next lower whole dollar, while any amount over 50 cents is rounded up to the next higher whole dollar. If you are adding more than one figure together, calculate their sum (including cents) first and then just round-off their total.

Line 4: Estimate Your Overall Tax Liability

On this line, you are required to provide your total income tax liability for the year. This is the same number that will appear on your income tax return (one of the following forms): Form 1040, Form 1040A, Form 1040EZ, Form 1040NR, Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR, or Form 1040-SS.

If you have zero tax liability, you can enter -0- on your extension application. However, you should make sure that the numbers you provide are as precise as possible. If your numbers are way off, the IRS may consider your extension request to be void. Additionally, incorrectly estimating your tax liability probably means you will make a tax payment that is either too low or too high — both which can lead to IRS penalties and interest.

Line 5: Provide Your Total Payments

On this line, you must provide the total payments you will be reporting on your income tax return. This includes estimated tax payments and money that was withheld from your paycheck throughout the year. This is the same number that will appear on your income tax return (one of the following forms): Form 1040, Form 1040A, Form 1040EZ, Form 1040NR, Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR, or Form 1040-SS.

Line 6: Your Balance Due

Here, you need to enter your total unpaid tax balance for the year. Calculate this number by subtracting Line 5 from Line 4 (above). If the amount shown on Line 5 is greater than Line 4, simply enter -0- in this field.

Line 7: Amount You’re Paying with Your Tax Extension

This is where you enter the total amount you are paying to the IRS right now. If the amount indicated on Line 6 (above) is not affordable for you, getting a tax extension is still possible. Do your best to pay what you can for now, to reduce the interest and penalties that will accrue on any outstanding balance. If you e-file your tax extension with TaxExtension.com, you can send an electronic tax payment to the IRS with your extension application.

Line 8: “Out of the Country” Filers

Check this box if you are living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico on the original deadline for filing your return.

Line 9: Form 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ Filers

Check this box if the deadline for your return is mid-June and you did not receive wages from which Federal income tax was withheld.

 

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