Maybe you don’t have all your tax documents yet, or maybe you just forgot – but if you can’t file your taxes on time there’s a simple solution. All you need to do is file for an automatic extension of your tax return.
IRS Form 4868 will let you apply for an automatic 6 month extension on the due date of your tax return. You must file this form by April 15, and you can file it electronically or by paper. There’s also an option to pay by credit card or debit card over the phone or online but a convenience fee will apply. Either way, you’ll still have to pay any taxes you owe by April 15. That means you’ll have to estimate your tax liability. And you’ll want to get it close to right because interest charges will apply to any unpaid portion. If you pay at least 90% of your actual tax liability by April 15, you won’t have to worry about late payment penalties.
What if You’re Out of the Country?
If you’re out of the country on April 15 and you’re a U.S. citizen or resident, you automatically get an extra 2 months to file your tax return without requesting an extension or filing Form 4868. If you still can’t file by June 15, then you’ll want to send in Form 4868 and pay any amount due by June 15.
Make Sure You Don’t Miss the Final Deadline!
If you get your due date extended by 6 months, make sure you don’t miss the October 15 deadline! There’s a 5% late filing penalty for every month you’re late up to a maximum of 25% of your amount due. If you’re two months late, you’ll be charged at least $135 or the balance due, whichever is smaller. Don’t keep putting off your tax return even if you do get the extension.
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