Olivia Harvey
April 16, 2018 8:51 am
Elizabeth Simpson / Getty Images

We will be the first to admit that we put off filing our taxes until the very last minute. This year, taxes are due on April 17th, since the usual Tax Day, April 15th, falls on a weekend. For many, this is good news because we get two more days to work on our filing. But, oh no — not us! In our eyes, those are two more days to procrastinate. Luckily, we have the option to file a tax extension, and yes, you can get one too — although you’ll still be on a time crunch.

Getting an extension on your taxes means you’ll have six more months to file. Therefore, a tax extension pushes your filing deadline to October 15th. But don’t sit back and relax just yet. You still need to send the IRS a form before Tax Day to qualify for an extension.

According to the IRS website, one must submit Form 4868, aka an Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, before April 17th.

And it’s incredibly important to note that filing this form can grant you a tax extension on filing your taxes, but not an extension for paying your taxes.

So when you submit Form 4868, you must also include payment for due taxes to avoid interest, penalties, and late fees that can accumulate up until your return is filed.

You can request an extension and file Form 4868 one of three ways. You can file the form online (e-file) via the IRS site, file via mail with a paper form, or use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System to “pay all or part of your income tax due (what you expect to owe) with your credit card or debit card,” the IRS website explains.

It’s important to really think about whether you need a tax extension or not. If you’re not involved in a complicated financial situation in which you need more time acquiring accurate information, then it’s probably better to just bite the bullet and file now.

Besides, you’re not getting out of paying your due taxes anyway (unless you want future fees), so you might as well get the whole shebang done at once.

Seek advice from those who have experience filing a tax extension, or those who know their ish when it comes to taxes in general. Even though we like to leave filing our taxes until the last minute, in our opinion, getting them done and paid for before April 17th will save you future headaches come October.

Save the extension for when you really, really need it.

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