Are you worried you might not get your personal taxes done by April 15th? If so consider filing an extension. Applying for an extension is a simple process and thousands of tax payers each year do this. It is important to note, however, that if you are granted an extension you are still required to pay your taxes owed before April 15th. But, for those individuals who have had unexpected illnesses or occurences in their lives that have prevented them from filing on time, or simply do not have all of their tax documentation ready, an extension can be a useful tool. Extensions should never be abused or used as a consistent means of avoiding paying one’s taxes on time. They are only to be used when an event happens that cause you a delay in getting your information submitted on time. An extension is only good for the calendar year for which it is granted, each year you need to reapply if necessary.
Individuals who have not filed their federal income tax return by April 15th in a given year and wish to have more time to do so may file Form 4868, the Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return. This form must be received by April 15, even though the actual tax return itself does not have to be. If granted, this extension will allow you six months to have your return prepared and submitted. In the past, the extension was granted for four months with an optional extra two month extension. However, there are no longer second exceptions – it’s a flat 6 months.
In general, most taxpayers are eligible to file an extension. However, there are special rules and conditions for those individuals who do not reside or currently live in the United States of America, for those who are out of the country when their extension expires, and for those who are serving in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous duty area. One who falls into any of these categories should check IRS.gov or speak with an R&G Brenner tax preparer to determine what the special rules affect various circumstances.
There are also other rules dealing with automatic extensions that you may find necessary or helpful. These are available in the Filing Information section of IRS Publication 17.
It is always faster, easier, and better to file your tax return in the normal amount of time, but if certain circumstances prevent this, make sure to file an extension. It is important to remember that every individual who makes enough income to be legally required to file taxes must do so. Missing the deadline is never an excuse for not filing taxes, so even if you are unable to fill out the necessary paperwork for an extension, speak with an R&G Brenner tax preparer to get some professional advice.