Can’t File Your Tax Return by April 15th? File an Extension!

Yes, April 15th is the deadline for your 2007 federal tax return. If your return is just not going to be finished by then, there is a way to save you. File a Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File) and you have until October 15, 2008 to file. (Note: This is not an extension of time to pay!)

Form 4868 is a simple form. You enter your 2007 tax, the amount that you’ve already paid, and any amount still be to paid (balance due.)

Here are the line items:

Line 4: Enter a reasonable and valid estimate of your tax liability.

(2007 Form 1040, Line 63; Line 1040A, line 37, Line 1040EZ, line 10)

Line 5: Enter the amount that you have already paid with your withholding and estimated payments.

(2007 Form 1040, line 72 (excluding line 69), Form 1040A, line 42, Form 1040EZ, line 9.)

Line 6: Subtract line 5 from line 4 and enter the amount.

If line 5 is more than line 4, you have a refund and need to enter a zero.

Line 7: Enter the amount that you are paying with the filing of this Form 4868.

That’s the basics. Let’s look at various questions that you may have.

How do I use TurboTax to fill out Form 4868 and my state extensions?

Check out File an Extension FAQ on the TurboTax Community site. It will answer your questions on the steps to follow for your federal and state extensions.

What if I don’t file my return or Form 4868 by April 15th?

You may be charged with a late filing penalty. The penalty is usually 5% of the amount due for each month (or part of a month) that your return is late. The maximum penalty is 25% of your balance due. If your return is more than 60 days late, there is a minimum penalty of $100 or the balance of the tax due, whichever is smaller.

How much should I pay with Form 4868?

The answer is 90% of your total tax liability (the amount on line 4 above)! The IRS urges you to pay as much as you can to reach that 90% level to avoid any interest and /or late payment penalties. Late payment penalty is usually ½ of 1% of any tax due, charged each month the tax is unpaid with a maximum penalty of 25%.

Any helpful hints if I pay with a check?

Make your check out to “United States Treasury” and write your social security number and “2007 Form 4868” on the check. Do not send cash. Do not staple or attach your check to Form 4868.

Can I pay with my credit card?

Yes, you can get an extension if you pay part or all of your balance due using a credit card. You can pay by phone or over the Internet through one of the service providers. See IRS’ Electronic Payment Options for Individuals. Also read the “Can I file a form 4868 over the internet?” section of TurboTax’s File an Extension FAQ. Remember if you use this credit card service, there will be commission fees charged.

What if my return is finished but I don’t have the money to pay the balance due?

The IRS suggests that you don’t request an extension.  File your return on time and pay as much as you can. the IRS will send you a bill or notice for the balance due and will charge interest and penalties only on the unpaid balance. To apply online for a payment agreement, go to IRS’ Payment Plans.

What if

What if I’m out of the country on April 15th?

If you live outside the U.S. and your main place of work is outside the U.S., or you’re in military service outside the U.S., you qualify for a date of June 16, 2008 to file and pay your balance due without filing a Form 4868. If you need further extended time, file Form 4868 and check the box on line 8.

Is there a delayed filing time for military in combat?

Yes, check out Extension of Deadlines -Combat Service Zone and Armed Forces Tax Guide.

What if I live in a disaster area?  Do I still have to file by April 15th?

Disaster-area taxpayers in four states affected by recent floods, storms and tornadoes may be eligible to get extra time to file without filing an extension on April 15th. the postponement is until May 6 in part of Illinois, May 19 in parts of Georgia and parts of Missouri and May 27 in parts of Arkansas.

How do I file my state extension?  Is it due on April 15th?

The filing extension guidelines for state income tax returns vary from state to state.  Some states will automatically extend the time for you to file if you’ve filed the federal 4868. Other states have their own extension forms to file and due dates. Check out 2007 State Information on TurboTax’ community support site. Click the link to your state. On your state’s information screen, scroll down to the Extension section to see if you need to file a form and the state’s extension date.

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