How to File an Income Tax Extension (IRS Form 4868) in 2023

You might need to file for a tax extension at some point in your life because tax deadlines have a tendency of sneaking up on you. You can ask the […]

You might need to file for a tax extension at some point in your life because tax deadlines have a tendency of sneaking up on you. You can ask the Internal Revenue Service for a six-month filing extension if you need more time to complete your return because you are busy with work, school, travel, a family emergency, or are just unorganized (IRS). There is a deadline for that as well, but the good news is that requesting a delay is simpler than you may imagine.

Either electronically or by mailing a physical form, you can file a tax extension. Typically, tax extensions last for six months. Any excess payment will be reimbursed once your tax return has been filed. Your payment deadline will not be extended if your filing deadline is extended.

What is a Tax Extension

By requesting an extension, the IRS Permits Taxpayers, Businesses, and Estates to submit their tax returns after the due date. If an extension request is granted, there won’t be a late filing fine unless the return isn’t filed by the new date. This does not, however, prolong the time for filing taxes. You might be charged fines and interest if you don’t pay your Tax Payment by the due date.

Key Takeaways of Form 4868

• It’s critical to keep in mind that the Form 4868 extension only extends your filing window; it does not extend your payment window.
• Even if the IRS gives you an extension to file later, you must still pay your taxes by the initial deadline for that particular year.
• When it comes time to submit your return, if you believe you could owe taxes, you should calculate how much you will owe and deduct any taxes you have already paid (for example, through tax withholding on your paycheck).
• You will receive a refund when you eventually file your return if your estimate was too high and you ended up paying too much. Additionally, you’ll prevent any fines and interest from building up, which may occur if you estimate the amount of taxes that need to be paid.
• You can use a debit or credit card to make part or the entire payment of your anticipated income tax online, or you can use Direct Pay to make an electronic financial transfer.
• Even if you file electronically, you can still pay your taxes by sending a check or money order. Include a completed Form 4868 as a voucher and make the check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasury.
• If you submitted a Form 4868 electronically and are not mailing a payment, you do not need to file a paper copy.

“No worries if your Financials are not ready, you can still file extension and we will be happy to assist”

Filing an Extension on a Personal Tax Return

Fill out Form 4868 to request an extension if you need extra times to file your personal income tax return. This straightforward two-part form merely allows you to make an estimated tax payment and identifies you. If you overspend, you can typically get your interest back, but if you underpay, you could face interest charges and penalties. You must submit Form 4868 by the tax return due date of April 18, 2023 to request the extension. You can submit your extension electronically with TurboTax Easy Extension, which can also assist you in calculating your tax liability.

Extensions for Americans Living Abroad

If a US taxpayer is outside the country on the tax filing deadline, they may request a two-month extension. Your primary place of business must ordinarily be located outside of the United States, or you must be serving in the armed forces, to be eligible.

Simply file your return no later than two months after the initial due date, along with a letter stating your eligibility for the two-month extension. This two-month extension enables you to escape late-payment penalties for the two months, as opposed to the three-month extension given to taxpayers residing in the United States. You will, nevertheless, continue to be charged interest on the amount of tax you don’t pay by the filing deadline.

Extension for Estate Tax Return

Normally, the estate tax return is due nine months after the decedent’s passing. The estate’s executor can submit Form 4768 to request an extension of time to submit Form 706 of the estate tax return. The entire extension period for an executor who is away of the country is twelve months. However, the IRS must receive the application before the first extension expires in order for it to have enough time to review it. As a result, this second extension is not automatic.

Extensions for Business Tax Returns

A corporation that files an income tax return on Form 1120 can get an extension if a Form 7004 is submitted to the IRS by the initial filing deadline. A partnership can get an automatic five-month extension of time for Filing its Income Tax Return on Form 1065. The Form 4868 can be used to request an extension of time if you are a lone owner who produces a Schedule C to report taxable business earnings.

Filing for a Tax Extension: Form 4868

You must submit Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, if you require an extension of time to file your individual income tax return. The deadline for requesting an extension coincides with the regular due date for your tax return. Typically, if April 15 comes on a weekend, it will be the next weekday.

It’s easy and cost-free to request an extension, and you can do it electronically or on paper. In either case, you must provide identification details (your name, address, Social Security number, and the Social Security number of your spouse) as well as information about your individual income tax obligations (estimate of your tax liability for the relevant tax year, total payments made, balance owed, and payment amount).

There are also checkboxes to indicate whether you are a citizen or resident of the United States who is abroad or if you file Form 1040-NR, a tax return that nonresident aliens may need to file if they conducted business in the United States during the tax year or received income from U.S. sources in any other way. Form 4868, like all other tax forms, is accessible on the IRS website. For a list of frequently downloaded forms and publications, including Form 4868, go to the Forms, Instructions & Publications section.

NOTE: For those affected by significant storms and other calamities, the IRS frequently extends the deadlines for submitting taxes. You can find out if you’re eligible for one of these extensions by looking at the IRS disaster relief notifications.

File a Tax Extension Request Online

  • You can send tax forms, including Form 4868, Electronically to IRS computers via the IRS e-file service.
  • By electronically submitting Form 4868 using IRS e-file on your own, with the aid of paid or free tax software, or with the assistance of a tax expert who utilizes e-file, you can obtain an automatic extension to file your tax return.
  • You will, in any case, get an email acknowledgment that you can file away with your tax documents.
  • You can use name-brand software from Free File, a free service that offers taxpayers federal tax preparation and e-filing options, for free if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than a set amount-$73,000 for 2021-and you are eligible for this benefit.
  • Use the IRS Fillable Forms tool if your income is above the cutoff. In some circumstances, Some Tax Software providers also provide free filing.

File a Tax Extension Request by Mail

  • Form 4868 may also be Submitted on Paper.
  • The Form is Available for Download on the IRS Website, and you can also fill out an order form to have a paper copy mailed to you.
  • As an alternative, you can purchase a form by calling the IRS at 800-829-3676.
  • There may also be copies in your neighborhood library or post office.
  • Notably, you can only file a paper Form 4868 if you are a fiscal year (rather than a calendar year) taxpayer.

Important Advise: Do not wait until the last minute to submit Form 4868 if you anticipate needing an extension. The earlier you submit it, the more time you’ll have to correct any unforeseen issues before the due date and the extension door close.

Duration of a Tax Extension

  • You have until October 16, 2023 to file your tax return if you get a tax extension. However, obtaining an extension simply extends the time you have to file your return; it does not extend the amount of time you have to pay.
  • The first portion of the process entails asking for an extension and providing an approximate payment. Your final return must yet be filed. The fines could get heavier if you don’t file by the extension deadline of October 16.
  • You must estimate your tax amount and pay as much of it at that time if you can’t file your return by the April 18 deadline.
  • Even if you receive a deadline extension, any unpaid balance is subject to interest and a late payment fee.
  • If you pay at least 90% of your real tax burden before the deadline and the remaining 20% with your return, you can be exempt from the late-payment penalty.

When To File Form 4868

  • Before April 18, 2023, Submit Form 4868. Fiscal year taxpayers submit Form 4868 by the fiscal year return’s first due date.
  • If you are a citizen or resident of the United States and you are out of the country on the ordinary due date of your return, you have an additional two months to submit your return and make any required payments without asking an extension. However, regardless of the extension, interest will still be applied to payments paid after the regular due date.
  • If you pass the requirements for bona fide residence or physical presence while living abroad and are a citizen or resident of the United States, you may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
  • By submitting Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return, you can request an extension to a date after you anticipate meeting the tests if you don’t anticipate meeting either of those requirements by the return’s due date.
  • Form 1040-NR Filers: Form 4868 should be filed if you are unable to submit your return by the deadline. Form 4868 must be submitted by the return’s regular due date. Also, this form must be submitted if your return is due on June 15, 2023, and you didn’t earn wages as an employee subject to U.S. income tax withholding.
  • Total Time Allowed: In general, we are unable to postpone your return’s due date for longer than six months (October 16, 2023, for most calendar year taxpayers). If you reside outside of the nation, there can be an exemption.
  • Submitting a Tax Return: Before the extension expires, you can submit your tax return whenever you like. Do not include a Form 4868 copy with your return.
  • Interest: Even if you are eligible for the 2-month extension because you were abroad, you will still be responsible for paying interest on any taxes that are not paid by the customary due date of your return. The interest accrues up until the tax is paid. You will still owe interest even if you had a valid excuse for not making your payment on time.
  • Late Payment Penalty: Any tax (other than estimated tax) that is not paid by the standard due date of your return, which is April 18, 2023, will typically incur a late payment penalty of 12 of 1%. Each full or partial month that the tax is not paid results in a charge. 25% is the maximum fine.
  • If you can provide a valid explanation for your failure to pay on time, the late payment penalty won’t be applied. Include a statement with your tax return completely outlining the justification. The statement shouldn’t be affixed to Form 4868.

E-file Your Extension Form for Free

  • Individual tax filers can online request an automatic tax-filing extension through Free File, regardless of their income.
  • You have until October 15 to file a return after submitting this form.
  • If October 15 falls on a weekend, a legal holiday, or a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is extended to the following working day. If the envelope is correctly filled out, has the correct postmark, and is mailed by the deadline, your return is regarded as timely filed.
  • You must fill out this form with an estimate of your tax liability and pay any outstanding balance in order to request an extension.

Extension Forms by Filing Status


Business and Corporations

Other Forms

State Tax Extensions

  • The rules for tax extensions vary by state. Although certain jurisdictions (such as Alabama, California, and Wisconsin) automatically grant six-month extensions to all taxpayers, other states demand that you submit a form on or before the initial deadline for your return.
  • You wouldn’t file a return or an extension request in some states because they don’t have a state income tax.
  • The proper state-specific form can be generated using professional tax preparation software, or you can get it on the website of your state’s tax authority.
  • Similar to your federal tax return, the state extension simply extends the deadline for filing your return; it does not extend the deadline for making tax payments. To avoid fees and interest, figure out what you owe and make a payment if you can.

Some Special Rules

The IRS allows you to extend the tax payment due in two specific situations.

Out of the Country

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien and, as of the customary due date of your return, you fall into one of the following categories, you will automatically be granted a two-month extension to submit your return and pay any federal income tax that is due without asking an extension.

  • Living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico and having your primary workplace or place of duty there.
  • On duty for military or naval service outside of the United States and Puerto Rico

Keep in mind that you must include a statement with your return that details the circumstances that made you eligible for the extension. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you owe money at the time of filing, interest will accrue on any taxes that are not paid by the original due date.

Combat Zone Extension

If either of the following two circumstances occurs, the deadline for submitting tax returns and making tax payments is automatically extended:

  • You have qualifying service outside of a combat zone or are currently serving in the military in a conflict zone.
  • You are a member of the armed forces engaging in a contingency operation while deployed outside of the United States and away from your primary duty station.

If you fall under either of those two headings, you have an additional 180 days to file and pay your taxes.

  • The final day of your service in a combat area or a crisis operation.
  • The final eligible day of any continuous hospitalization for a military injury sustained in a conflict zone or during a contingency operation

The days you had remaining to file when you reported for duty are added to those 180 days.


You can reduce stress and produce a more thorough tax return if you have more time to collect, examine, prepare, and file your return. You don’t have to provide the IRS a reason for your request for an extension; it is a fairly straightforward process. Still, if you have any concern, you can connect with our experts easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Filing a Tax Extension Simple?

Yes, obtaining an extension is a relatively simple process. All you have to do is obtain Form 4868, complete it, and send it-either electronically or via postal service-to the IRS before the due date. The form itself isn’t particularly long, but it can often be challenging to estimate your overall tax liability for the tax year.

Is Filing for a Tax Extension Punishable?

No fee is charged for requesting an extension. Not paying on time, not paying at all, or not paying enough is typically what results in fines. If you don’t pay everything you owe, the IRS will charge you interest up until your balance is paid in full. You can additionally incur a late payment fee if that turns out to be less than 90% of the total.

What is the Procedure for Filing a Tax Extension?

By filling out and filing Form 4868, you can ask for more time to file your individual federal income tax returns. If no problems arise, submitting this form electronically or by mail should automatically extend the filing date by around six months.

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