How to Request an IRS Filing Extension

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April 15th is only a couple weeks away! If you haven’t filed yet and don’t think you’ll make the April 15th deadline, all you need to do to procrastinated another six months is fill out IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You don’t have to provide a reason unless the IRS denies your request, which they don’t do very often (at least from what I hear), and you can file your return anytime before October 15th, the new deadline for those approved for an extension.

The only gotcha is that you are still required to pay taxes owed. The extension is only for filing your return, not for payment. If you owe taxes and can’t pay, start the process of setting up an IRS payment plan today because the extension won’t help you.

If you’re supposed to get a refund, I recommend that you file ASAP so you can get your money back!

{ 4 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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4 Responses to “How to Request an IRS Filing Extension”

  1. Jim –

    Just read the article on financial blogging that featured your site. Good luck with the online radio show!


  2. (Article in the Chicago Trib).


  3. I am helping individuals and small businesses prepare taxes this year and I think it’s great that you’ve pointed out that the taxes are still due.

    The far majority of people interested in an extension do owe taxes and this is a huge misconception upon people that walk into our offices.

    Filing the extension will help avoid a minimum fee, however it is almost always better (if you can) to put in the work now to get them filed!

  4. Michelle says:

    There is safe harbor.

    The IRS “safe harbor” for avoiding penalties is as follows: No penalty is owed if either (a) regular withholdings cover 90% of the actual tax liability; or (b) quarterly payments and regular withholdings cover 110% of last year’s tax liability.

    2009 Safe Harbor as noted on the IRS website…

    Estimated tax safe harbor for higher income taxpayers. If your adjusted gross income was more than $150,000 ($75,000 if you are married filing a separate return), you will have to deposit the smaller of 90% of your expected tax for 2009 or 110% of the tax shown on your 2008 return to avoid an estimated tax penalty.

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