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How to Request a Tax Extension

How to Request a Tax Extension


It's one thing to be fashionably late to cocktails when nobody's looking at their watch, but tardiness comes with heavy penalties when you're answering to the IRS. The deadline for filing your 2008 tax return is April 15 — that's Wednesday — and telling the IRS that your dog ate your calendar won't fly. Don't flip out if you can't file your return on time; just file an extension to avoid big trouble.

Here's the big thing to keep in mind about extensions: they only buy you time to file your return, but they don't allow for additional time to pay taxes owed. So, if you won't be filing your return by the 15th but know that you have to pay taxes, you need to pay at least 90 percent of the total amount due by the April deadline to avoid penalties. Asking for an extension will give you six additional months to complete and file your tax return. Learn the details for requesting extension when you read more.

Submit Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US Individual Income Tax Return, with the IRS by the April 15 or make an extension-related electronic credit card payment (you'll find the details on Form 4868). You can also choose to e-file an extension request through your tax preparation software, and if you choose this method you can authorize the IRS to electronically withdraw funds to cover your expected tax balance. Visit the IRS website if you have questions about requesting an extension.

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