Federal Tax Return Extension - Form 4868
Important: Find out what to do if your tax extension was rejected.
Find out how to file your taxes after you file a tax extension.
The IRS is no longer granting extensions. Form 4868 may no longer be filed or efiled.
How to File a Tax Extension
What Is an IRS Tax Extension?
A tax extension is an extension of time to file your tax return. However, it is not an extension of time to pay your tax bill.
Any taxpayer can get an automatic 6-month tax return extension by filing or efiling IRS Form 4868. It is easy to prepare and efile your federal tax extension on efile.com, and the online software generates Form 4868 for you.
New Extension of Time to Pay for Taxpayers Facing Financial Hardship: Apply by April 15, 2013!
Why and Why Not to efile an Extension?
If you do not have enough tax information, or all your tax records, to start and efile a tax return by April 15, you should efile an IRS extension by that date. However, you will need to find out how much you expect to owe in taxes and submit payment (for at least 90% of your balance due) by April 15 in order to avoid IRS penalties and interest. You can estimate your tax liability (or tax refund) with the Free Tax Calculator.
3 Top Tax Extension Tips from efile.com
Only efile a Tax Extension if you don't have all the information you need to prepare a Tax Return.
Don't efile a Tax Extension if you owe Taxes to the IRS, a Tax Extension won't postpone the payment deadline!
Don't efile a Tax Extension if you have everything you need to do your taxes, preparing and efiling a Tax Return will save you time and money.
Is a Tax Extension Right for Me?
Before you efile a tax extension, consider this common misconception about tax extensions:
Myth: "Filing a tax extension postpones my tax deadline and my tax payments without IRS penalties."
Truth: "A tax extension only postpones your time to file a return, not your time to pay your taxes!"
Though you will incur IRS penalties for not paying your taxes on time, the penalties are much worse for not filing a tax extension or your tax return.
NEW! Before you file, educate yourself about your tax situation: Try our free tax educator tools to find out if someone qualifies as your dependent, if you can claim the Earned Income Credit or the Child Tax Credit, or if you can file as Head of Household!
Try the FREE Tax Toys & Tools
When Should I Prepare and efile a Tax Extension?
You should efile a federal tax extension for Tax Year 2012 by April 15, 2013, the same day as the deadline to efile a 2012 Tax Return. If you efile a tax extension, your new deadline to efile a 2012 Tax Return will be October 15, 2013. After October 15, 2013 you can still prepare your tax return on efile.com, but you will need to print and mail it.
Tax Tip: If you owe taxes, but you have missed the deadline to efile an extension, you should efile your tax return now to avoid further penalties, fees and interest.
After April 15, 2013 you can no longer efile a tax extension. You will still be able to prepare and efile a tax return past the deadline. You can start and efile a tax return on efile.com by Tax Day. Before you efile, know the tax amount you owe. Once your tax return has been accepted by the IRS you can make changes to this return by filing a tax amendment and download Form 1040X. There is no deadline to amend a tax return, but there is a 3 year limit on claiming tax refunds. If you efile a tax extension, your new deadline to efile a 2012 Tax Return will be October 15, 2013.
Tax Tip: It takes almost as much time to efile a tax extension as it takes to start and efile a tax return, so you may as well prepare your return with the information you have and efile on time. Even if you don't have all your tax information by April 15, you can amend your tax return at any time, and you have up to 3 years after the original filing deadline to claim a tax refund.
Even if you do not have the money to pay the taxes you owe you should efile a tax extension or tax return. The potential IRS fees and penalties for not efiling anything are going to be larger than on the taxes owed. So, pay as much or as little as you can but do efile an extension or tax return. The IRS will most likely add penalties and/or interest to the late payments.
Learn about tax payment options
Find out How Much You Owe in Taxes
Option 1: Estimate your taxes with the efile.com free tax calculator.
Option 2: Start a tax return on efile.com. Before you efile the return, you will know whether you owe taxes based on all the tax information you entered.
You should file your tax return by the time it is due, regardless of whether or not a full payment can be made with the return. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for an IRS payment plan.
Start, prepare, and efile a tax return now
Please contact efile.com with any questions about tax extensions.
How Do I efile a Tax Extension?
The IRS is no longer accepting extension requests. Form 4868 may no longer be filed or efiled.
Potential IRS Penalties for not efiling or not Paying Taxes After the Deadline
Failure to efile/file a tax return or an IRS federal tax extension can be costly. If taxes are owed, a delay in filing may result in penalty and interest charges that could increase your tax bill by 25 percent or more. There is no penalty for the late filing of a return on which a refund is owed except for the delay of your refund. If you do not file (or efile) and/or pay your taxes on time, you may be subject to IRS penalties.
Important: The only way to avoid penalties is to efile or file a tax return and pay all taxes due by April 15.
A Note on IRS Interest: In case you have unpaid taxes for this or a previous Tax Year, you might owe tax penalties and interest.
Are there penalties if I expect a Tax Refund but do not file on time? No, there is no tax penalty for failure to efile a tax return or tax extension if you expect a federal or state tax refund. However, by waiting too long to efile, you can lose your refund. Please be aware that your return must be filed/efiled within three years of the due date.
Find more information on tax penalties, late interest payment or IRS fees here.
Can't pay the taxes you owe? Explore options to help you ease your tax burden now.
How to File a State Tax Extension
The requirements for filing a state tax extension vary from state to state. They mostly relate to tax extension filing deadlines, tax payment rules, or certain tax extension forms to fill out (or not, in some states' cases). However, in general, most states follow the deadline to file a federal tax return extension.
Find out how to file a state tax extension for a particular state.
Automatic Tax Extensions for U.S. Citizens and Residents Living Abroad
If you are a U.S. resident living outside of the country on Tax Day, and your main place of business is outside of the U.S., then you automatically receive a 2-month extension of time to file your return and time to pay any income taxes you may owe. You will still owe interest on any unpaid taxes after April 15, but you will not be subject to late payment penalties or late filing penalties until June 15, 2013.
You do not have to file any forms in advance to get this 2-month extension, but you will need to file your return on paper and attach a statement explaining why you qualify for the extension.
If you need even more time to prepare your tax return, you can obtain an additional extension of 4 months (to October 15, 2013) by filing Form 4868. But if you owe taxes, penalties and interest will apply after June 15.
Automatic Tax Extensions for the Military
If you are a member of the Armed Forces stationed outside of the United States (and Puerto Rico) at the time of your tax deadline (April 15) then you will automatically receive a 2-month extension of time to file your tax return. Please note that this automatic extension is not an extension of time to pay any tax owed by the regular due date of the return. Therefore, interest is charged on any taxes owed from April 15 to the date the taxes are paid.
You can get an additional extension to October 15, 2013 by using Form 4868.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces on active duty in an officially designated combat zone (or contingency operation) on April 15, you will receive an automatic extension of time to file and time to pay. The extension will be for 180 days plus the number of days you had left to file when you entered service in the combat zone.
Learn more about deadline extensions for the military
What to Do if Your Tax Extension Was Rejected
Unfortunately, the IRS is no longer accepting extensions electronically. You may print and mail it, but it is up to the IRS whether they accept it.
TIP: We recommend that you just get started on your 2012 Tax Return. There is no penalty for filing late if you are getting a tax refund. If you owe taxes, you should efile your tax return now to avoid the worst penalties, even if you can't pay your taxes right now.
You can prepare and efile your federal and state tax returns now on efile.com. You have between now and midnight on Oct. 15, 2013 to efile and take advantage of this special offer: On efile.com, a 1040EZ is always free, but if you have to prepare a more complex return (1040A or 1040), please take 50% off by entering the following promo code during checkout: extn13e
TIP: Make a tax payment as soon as possible.
Because your extension was rejected, the tax payment you set up did not go through. As soon as possible, you should make a payment to avoid IRS penalties.
You can mail a payment with your tax extension. Instructions are on the form.
You can make an online payment directly from your bank account, or with a credit card or debit card. Find out how to make online payments.
Find out the penalties for paying late or for filing late when you owe taxes.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if we can assist you.
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