10 Things You Need to Know About Filing a Tax Extension (1440 x 600 px)
10 Things You Need to Know About Filing a Tax Extension (411 x 600 px)

10 Things You Need to Know About Filing a Tax Extension

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Many people believe that a tax extension is somewhat of a cure-all. Don’t have the money to pay taxes? File an extension. Still, trying to get everything in order? File an extension.

Despite what it may sound like, the tax extension isn’t really a “cure-all.” To help you better understand this option, here are ten important facts about filing a tax extension that you need to know before you file.

How long of an extension do you get for filing taxes?

When it comes to filing for a tax extension, if you apply by April 15th by filing Form 4868, you’ll receive an extended six-month window to file your tax return. That moves the tax deadline to October 15th.

It’s important to note an IRS tax extension doesn’t grant taxpayers more time to pay their taxes. You’ll need to submit any payments for taxes you owe in order to avoid failure-to-file or pay penalties as well as any additional interest. 

Automatic tax extension graphic

What documents are needed to file a tax extension?

Often, we push off filing taxes, saying we’ll get around to it. Before you know it, you’re trying to file at the last minute. If you get to that point, you might find that there’s not enough time to get your return done on time, let alone file them properly. Knowing these last-minute tax tips and tricks, such as how to file a tax extension, could be essential to making sure you remain in compliance with the IRS.

The good news is that requesting an IRS tax extension is free, fairly simple. It can be done either electronically or by mailing in a paper form. 

There are three main ways you can get an extension:

  1. Pay at least 90% of your total tax due on your current year income tax return by using the IRS Direct Pay to extend online. When setting up your payment, on the page after you select “make a payment,” be sure to select Extension as the reason for your payment. This will automatically extend your return, and you will not have to do anything else.
  2. File Form 4868 online to extend your tax filing deadline.
  3. Mail the paper version of Form 4868 to the IRS. You can also provide a partial payment with the form if you’d like. Remember, you should pay at least 90% of the total tax due with your extension form in order to avoid any late payment penalties.

You might be wondering how can I make a partial payment if I don’t know how much I’m going to owe without filing my return? That’s what our tax calculator is for. You can estimate your tax bill or refund with this easy-to-use tool.

Laptop open with Form 4868 pulled up on the screen.

Can the IRS reject an extension?

Yes, it’s possible for the IRS to reject an extension on taxes. While nearly every tax extension that is filed over tax season is normally automatically granted by the IRS, there are some exceptions.

The typical reason an extension is denied is due to human errors made while filling out Form 4868. For example, simple things like spelling errors and numerical inconsistencies or mistakes can result in the rejection of your tax extension by the IRS. 

    Additionally, by providing outdated information such as old addresses, business names, or a name change that doesn’t match the IRS records can result in your extension on taxes being denied. 

    To help reduce your risk of rejection, pay close attention as you complete the forms and check for errors.

    How do I know if my tax extension was accepted?

    Once you’ve finished the process of submitting your tax extension, you might be wondering how you’ll get confirmation that the extension has been accepted. 

    If you use software, you’ll get a confirmation of receipt. For example, with TurboTax Easy Extension, you’ll get a confirmation from TurboTax within 48 hours.

      The standard procedure is that if you sent your tax extension in on time and without errors, the IRS should grant the automatic extension. So, usually, no news is good news. 

      If you submitted your extension through the mail, you’ll need to call 1-800-829-1040 to determine if your request for an extension for your taxes from the IRS has been received and approved. Unfortunately, currently checking the status of your tax extension is unavailable on the IRS website.

      Woman holding a phone to her ear.

      Is an extension to file the same as an extension to pay?

      The word “extension” is somewhat misleading. When you file a tax extension, you’ll get six extra months to file your taxes. Sounds reasonable, but keep reading. The keywords here are “extra months to file your taxes.” A tax extension does not extend the deadline to pay any taxes that you may owe to the IRS.

      If you file an extension, you will still have to pay any taxes due by the normal tax deadline. So before you file an extension assuming you’ve got six extra months to pay your taxes, think again!

        What is the penalty for filing an extension?

        Although technically, you’re not penalized or charged a fee for submitting the tax extension on  Form 4868 – there could still be a downside to filing an extension.

        If you file an extension, but you’ve got a good grasp on your situation and you are pretty sure a tax refund is in your future this year, then you really have nothing to worry about. The government will hold onto your tax refund until you get your paperwork sorted out during your extension period. Once you file, you’ll get your tax refund.

        But the rules change a bit if you owe taxes to the IRS. If you file an extension but you choose not to pay what you owe by the tax deadline, the IRS will charge you a failure-to-pay penalty, late payment penalty, and interest on the taxes that you owe them.

        How much is a failure-to-pay penalty?

        Is there an extension for IRA contributions?

        If you think you’ve found an IRA-contribution loophole in the tax process, think again. Filing for a tax extension during tax season does not extend the time you have to make an IRA contribution and receive a tax deduction on said contribution for the tax year. Every year, the deadline to make an IRA contribution is tax day, April 15.

        Will filing a tax extension affect your credit score?

        Your taxes and filing for a tax extension will not directly affect your credit score or credit. That said, how you manage your tax debt, pay your taxes, and whether you miss payments can lead to extra penalties and interest and have an indirect impact on your credit score and history.

        Can you file an extension using TurboTax?

        Many people still believe that the only way to file for an extension is the old-school paper method. But you can also request an extension for free using TurboTax Easy Extension. Just make sure to go online and file for an extension by the tax deadline. You will also receive an email confirmation when your tax extension is accepted.

        Is filing an extension worth it?

        That depends, but unless there are certain pieces of paperwork you’re waiting to arrive in the mail, an extension probably won’t deliver the benefits you might expect. 

        Still need to file? No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed. 

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