When Should You File for a Tax Extension?

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A tax extension gives you additional time to file your return. The length of your extension depends on the type of tax extension you’re requesting — personal or business, as well as what type of business.

You must file your tax extension by the original deadline of your tax return. Therefore, the due date for your tax extension is based on what type of tax return you want the extension for. Read on to learn about the different due dates for IRS tax extensions.

Deadlines for Personal Income Tax Extensions

A personal tax extension can be obtained by filing IRS Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). This application extends the filing deadline for the following personal tax returns: Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, and 1040-SS. The original deadline for filing your personal tax return is April 15, which means that the due date for Form 4868 is also April 15. An IRS-approved personal tax extension will give you 6 extra months (until October 15) to file your return.

Deadlines for Business Income Tax Extensions

A business tax extension can be obtained by filing IRS Form 7004 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns). There are 2 main due dates for business tax extensions. The first deadline applies to larger business entities (including C corporations, S corporations, REMICs, REITs, etc.) — it is the 15th day of the 3rd month following the end of the tax year (March 15 for calendar year taxpayers). This first group is eligible for a 6-month business tax extension, which moves their filing deadline to September 15 (for calendar year filers). The second due date applies to partnerships, trusts, most estates, and some multi-member LLCs — it is the 15th day of the 4th month following the end of the tax year (April 15 for calendar year taxpayers). This second group is eligible for a 5-month business tax extension, which moves their filing deadline to September 15.

Deadlines for U.S. Taxpayers Who Are “Out of the Country”

If you are out of the country during the time when your tax return is due, you will be granted an automatic 2-month personal extension from the IRS. No application has to be filed. For calendar year taxpayers, this moves their filing deadline from April 15 to June 15. But, if you want to get an additional tax extension, you can file Form 4868 to request another 4 months to file. In this case, Form 4868 must be submitted by June 15 in order to get the additional extension, which moves the final filing deadline to October 15. Note that these due dates also apply to members of the U.S. military who are stationed overseas in non-combat areas.

Deadlines for U.S. Military Personnel

Members of the military who are deployed in an active combat zone or contingency operation area are given an automatic 180-day extension starting on the day after their last day in that area. A military member who spent time in a hospital as a result of injuries sustained in an active combat zone or contingency operation area will also receive a 180-day extension, starting on the day after their last day in the hospital. No tax extension application needs to be submitted to receive these automatic military extensions.

Deadlines for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Most charities and non-profits that qualify for tax-exempt status (under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code) are required to file an annual return using IRS Form 990. Form 990 is due by the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the tax year (May 15 for calendar year taxpayers), which means a tax extension must be filed by that same date. You can get an extension for Form 990 by using Form 8868 to request an automatic 3-month extension, moving the filing deadline to August 15 (for calendar year filers). If you want another 3-month extension top of that, file Form 8868 by the extended deadline (August 15) to receive an additional tax extension, which moves the filing due date to November 15 (for calendar year filers).

 

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