Tax Extensions for Individuals

If you are filing your taxes in the U.S., one of the most important items you should be aware of is the Tax Extension. Understanding what tax extensions are and who can obtain them will make the tax filing process easier for you, while also helping to protect you from being charged unnecessary penalties by the IRS. To help you learn about personal tax extensions, here are some basics that you should be aware of.

What Is a Personal Tax Extension?

A tax extension gives you additional time to file your annual income tax return with the IRS. If you are somehow unable to file your taxes by the given deadline (typically April 15), you can apply for a Federal tax extension using IRS Form 4868. An extension will allow you 6 extra months to file your personal tax return, which moves your filing deadline to October 15. Getting an extension can also help you avoid late filing fees charged by the IRS.

A tax extension is easy to request, and almost anyone can be approved for one. However, you must remember that getting an extension doesn’t mean you can totally slack off. When you file for a tax extension, you are basically making an agreement (with the IRS) to file your taxes within the extra time provided.

Another thing to keep in mind is that filing a tax extension doesn’t mean that you can get an extension for paying your taxes. You are still expected to pay that year’s taxes by the original filing due date (April 15), no matter what! The IRS charges interest and penalties on overdue tax, so it is better that you pay any outstanding amount. You will have to calculate an estimate of how much your tax will be for the year. As long as you pay at least 90% of your tax liability by April 15, you will not be subject to late payment penalties.

You will need to submit your tax extension request by the original filing due date (April 15) in order to get the additional time to file. You can do this by mailing the IRS a paper version of Form 4868, or take the easier route and e-file Form 4868 online. If you use an online service like, you can also pay your taxes online when you file your extension. is an authorized IRS e-file provider, so you can trust that you personal information is secure.

Who Can Get a Personal Tax Extension?

In general, every individual who’s required to file an annual tax return is also eligible for a Federal tax extension. When you apply for an extension, you won’t be asked to provide a reason for why you need more time. Just make sure your application (Form 4868) is filled out correctly and submitted on time, and you should be approved. If a tax extension is denied by the IRS, it’s almost always because incorrect information was provided on the application (e.g., address or Social Security Number) that doesn’t match IRS records.

When filing for a tax extension, make sure that the information you’ve provided is completely accurate and up-to-date. If there have been any changes in your situation (such as a name change or new address) you will need to notify the government about the change BEFORE you apply for a tax extension. See the Instructions for IRS Form 4868 for more information.

How to Get a Personal Tax Extension

Did you know that some people file for a tax extension every year? It is completely legal and the IRS doesn’t even care — as long as you file it on time.(by April 15). Here are the steps you need to take in order to request and obtain a Federal tax extension:

1.    Determine If You Owe Federal Income Tax

If you expect to get a Federal tax refund this year, you are automatically given a 6-month extension of time to file your return, without even needing to formally request one. However, if you owe income tax to the IRS, you will have to apply for an extension AND pay your tax due by the original due date (April 15) to avoid penalties.

2.    Complete the Tax Extension Application (Form 4868)

Tax Form 4868 is the “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.” To request a Federal tax extension, you need to fill out this small form and submit it to the IRS. You can fill out Form 4868 online, or print it on paper and complete it by hand.

3.    Submit Your Tax Extension Application

You may submit Form 4868 electronically or via paper mail. Remember to do this by the original filing deadline (April 15) to avoid a late filing penalty. Consider using an IRS-authorized provider like to handle your online tax extension. We send your application directly to the IRS and notify you once your request has been approved.

4.    Make Your Payment for Federal Income Tax

Remember that you won’t be getting any extra time to pay the taxes you owe to the IRS. You can remit a tax payment with your extension application since both are due by April 15. While it is better to pay the complete amount of tax owed, you are not required to make a payment in order to get a tax extension. You can choose to pay part (or even none) of the tax due when you file for an extension. But the longer you wait to pay the IRS, the greater the late fees will be.

5.    File Your Income Tax Return Within the Next 6 Months

Congratulations! Once your tax extension is approved, you will have 6 extra months to file your return — moving your deadline to October 15. Make sure you remember to file by the extended deadline to avoid IRS penalties.

All this information should help you understand how to get a personal tax extension with the IRS. It’s so easy — you don’t even need a reason! Let the experts at help you e-file your personal tax extension today!

If you want to request a tax extension for your business, please visit our Business Tax Extension Center.

Any questions? Contact our Support Team.

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