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how to file a tax extension

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How To File a Tax Extension

April 18, 2023, is fast approaching, and taxpayers who have not yet filed their tax returns are starting to feel the heat. Whether life got in the way or you simply procrastinated — hey, we won’t judge — waiting until close to the deadline leaves you vulnerable to strokes of bad luck — and the dreaded IRS Late Filing Penalty. 

Luckily, there is an out: the IRS Tax Extension. If you are worried about not filing your taxes in time, consider filing an extension instead to push the deadline back by six months. And if you’re really pressed for time, don’t hesitate — schedule an appointment with your local Liberty Tax expert to ensure your extension is filed correctly and in time for the deadline. 

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You must file an extension by April 18 to get an extra 6-months to file your return. The process can be difficult, so let Liberty Tax do it for you.

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How Long Does a Tax Extension Last? 

A successfully-filed tax extension grants you a six-month cushion on your tax return — or until October 18, 2023. However, extensions only pertain to filing — you’ll still have to pay before the deadline. To do so, you must estimate your tax bill and pay the estimated amount to avoid a late-payment penalty and interest. Remember to always over-estimate; you will always receive excess tax paid as part of your subsequent refund. 

How to File a Tax Extension 

To file for a tax extension, you must file Form 4868, also known as the Application for the Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (yes, it’s a mouthful. We’ll just call it Form 4868 from now on). It is essential to file Form 4868 on or before the tax deadline: April 18, 2022. In the IRS’s eyes, failure to do so is equivalent to blowing off your taxes for the year. 

Typically, taxpayers who choose to submit Form 4868 electronically will receive an email confirmation within 24 hours. Taxpayers who submit via the mail won’t receive confirmation at all — to ensure that the IRS has received their Form 4868, they will need to call. However, as is often the case with taxes, no news is good news — the IRS typically won’t contact taxpayers unless there is a problem.

How Much Does It Cost to File a Tax Extension? 

As little as zero dollars. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) sits at or below a certain amount, you can take advantage of the IRS’s Free File program to electronically request a tax extension. If your AGI exceeds the $73,000 mark, you can still request an extension for free — simply fill out the IRS’s free-to-use fillable Form 4868 and submit it to the IRS. If you’re uncomfortable with doing this yourself, you could always reach out to a tax professional for help! 

How to File a Tax Extension If You Live Overseas 

If you live overseas and meet specific criteria, you may not have to file for an extension at all. For example, American citizens or residents who lived and worked in a foreign nation at the time of the tax deadline get an automatic two-month extension — no need to file! In addition, certain military members serving in combat zones get automatic extensions that start once they return to the States. 

Can I Get Penalized For Filing a Tax Extension? 

The short answer: no. There is a pervasive myth that filing for a tax extension opens you up to fees and penalties or increases your chances of an audit, but this holds no water.  

While there is no penalty for filing for a tax extension, there are severe fines, fees, and penalties for failing to file or pay in full. For example, failure to file on time will incur the IRS’s Late Filing Penalty, while failing to pay in full will cause the IRS to charge interest on the unpaid amount in addition to a late payment penalty. 

Having TAXiety? We Have the Answers.

It’s no secret — taxes can be a challenge to understand. If preparing for this year’s tax season gives you TAXiety, don’t hesitate — schedule an appointment with your local Liberty Tax today.

Ready to tackle your taxes? Y​ou can start your return by downloading our app from the Apple App or Google Play stores or utilizing our virtual tax pro. 

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