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Filing a Tax Extension

Need more time to file your tax return? You can get an extension by requesting one before April 15th. File Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File to request an extension.

Note: Even with an extension, you must estimate how much tax you owe and send in that amount by April 15, 2017. Make sure your tax estimate is accurate. If the IRS thinks your estimate is unreasonable they may disallow your extension and assess a penalty for filing a late tax return.

Don't underestimate! You'll have to pay interest on whatever amount you fail to pay by April 15th. Also, if you pay less than 90 percent of the tax you owe, you'll end up owing a penalty of 0.5 percent of the underpayment every month until you pay the balance.

E-File Your IRS Tax Extension

If you need additional time after April 15th to file your taxe return, you can e-file your request for an extension. The IRS approves nearly 100% of extension requests, as long as they are filed properly.
TurboTax helps you work quickly and easily, and it double-checks your return for errors (which occur often when calculating capital gains taxes). You can have a CPA look over your return as well, before filing both your federal and state returns.

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Four Methods to File For Tax Extension

You have four different options when applying for a tax extension. You can either:

  • Call the IRS to ask for an extension, then pay by direct debit before April 15th.
  • Phone a service provider, then pay by credit card before April 15th.
  • Fill out Form 4868, then send it in with your payment before April 15th.
  • Use a tax software product to prepare your federal extension form, then either mail the form in with a payment or pay by credit card over the phone before April 15, 2017.

Method 1: Phone the IRS for a Tax Extension

If you filed a tax return last year, you can file for an extension by phone. You can also pay your tax by direct debit on the same phone call, or you can mail a check before April 15.

FIRSt, if you intend to pay by direct debit, get this information ready:

  • Your bank's routing transfer number
  • Your deposit account number
  • The amount you must pay
  • Your adjusted gross income from your year 2017 return

Then call (888) 796-1074 any time from February 2 to April 15. Request an extension and after it has been confirmed, record the confirmation number the IRS gives you. Keep this number in your tax records.

If you prefer to pay your tax by direct debit you can do so over the phone. If you prefer to pay by check, write the confirmation number on it, and send it to the IRS location for your state.

7. File your complete return by October 16, 2017.

Option 2: Phone or Log On to a Service Provider

If you would like to use a credit card to pay part or all of your estimated tax liability, you may file for an extension by phone or over the Internet through a service provider like Official Payments Corporation. Your payment must be at least $1 and each service provider will charge you a convenience fee based on the amount of the payment you are making.

1. Call or log on to the Web site of your chosen service provider.

2. Follow their instructions.

3. File your complete return by October 16, 2017.

Option 3: Print the Form and Fill It Out

1. Go to the IRS Web site to view Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, and the instructions that go with the form.

2. Print the form and instructions.

3. Fill out Form 4868 and send it to the IRS address for your state.

4. If you owe taxes, include your payment with your Form 4868.

5. Postmark the envelope on or before April 15.

6. Complete and file your return on or before October 16.

7. If you need to file an extension for your state tax return, get the form and instructions online or from most local post offices and public libraries.

Option 4: Use a TurboTax Online or TurboTax Desktop Program

1. Start or continue your tax return.

2. Follow the EasyStep(R) interview, entering as much information as you can.

3. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the application for an automatic extension (Form 4868).

4. Click the Print Extension button when you reach the Printing Your Extension screen. Print a second copy for your records.

5. Address an envelope to the IRS, include payment by check, and postmark by April 15, 2017.

6. Finish your return and make sure it is postmarked by October 16, 2017.

Do You Need to Request a State Tax Extension?

State guidelines for filing extensions vary widely. Consult our state guide to find state extension forms.

If You Live Outside the U.S.

If you live outside the United States, you may be able to get an extension by filing Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return if you believe you will qualify for special tax treatment. To learn if this form might help you, you can get the form and IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

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