Do I Need to File a Tax Extension?

woman filing an extension online with TaxSlayer

A tax extension means that you have longer to submit your return, but you must pay any taxes you owe by the official IRS deadline.  

How do I know if I need to file an extension? 

Some reasons you might want to consider filing an extension include: 

  • Not having all your tax documents, receipts, or records 
  • Being out of the country 
  • A death in the family 
  • A natural disaster 
  • Other unplanned life events 
tax extensions

When do I need to file an extension? 

If you’re not ready to file your taxes by the IRS filing deadline, make sure to file for an extension on or before Tax Day, which usually falls on April 15th 

How do I file an extension? 

File IRS Form 4868. Submit it through the mail or use TaxSlayer to quickly file it online. If you mail it in, it takes longer for the IRS to receive it.  

How long is a tax filing extension for? 

The extension gives you an additional 6 months to file your taxes. They will be due in the middle of October, usually around October 15th. 

What information do I need to fill out Form 4868? 

You will need the following information to fill out the extension request form: 

  • Name 
  • Address 
  • Social Security 
  • Spouse’s SSN (if filing as married) 
  • Estimated tax liability 
  • Total taxes paid 

Am I required to pay my tax bill if I file an extension? 

Yes. If you owe on your tax return, you must submit payment for your estimated taxes with your Form 4868. However, if you are due a refund, you do not have to attach any payment to your extension application. The IRS will hold your refund until you file. 

How much is my tax bill? 

Your tax liability – the amount you owe for taxes – is the sum of your income tax minus non-refundable credits. It also includes any tax penalties you might owe. You can find your federal tax liability on Form 1040.  

If you are self-employed, make sure to account for the self-employment tax.  

How do I make a payment to the IRS if I am filing a tax extension? 

Make payment when you file your extension by providing your bank information and having the tax withdrawn directly from your bank account. Or you can go to the IRS website and pay by credit card. Please note that additional fees apply. The last way you can choose to pay is by check. Attach the check to the printed extension form and mail it into the IRS. Make checks payable to “United States Treasury”. 

For more information on filing an extension with TaxSlayer, read How Do I Complete My Federal Extension?

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2021 (taxes filed 2022). 

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