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IRS: How can I get a tax return filing extension?

If you can’t file your federal income taxes on time there are options.


You can apply for an automatic extension.

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Exceptions to April 18 IRS deadline

For most taxpayers, the deadline to file is today. However you can request an extension and there are some exceptions. Read about it here.

Residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until April 19 to file because of a regional holiday, Patriots day.

US taxpayers living and working abroad have until June 15 to file. The IRS has also established a later deadline for victims of wildfires in Colorado, and victims of storms, flooding, and landslides in Puerto Rico. They have until May 16 and June 15.

The IRS suggests filing online

If you’ve filed a paper return, it is considered on time as long as the envelope is correctly addressed, postmarked, and put in the mail by the due date.

If you file electronically, you have until midnight of the due date. The IRS is encouraging e-filing because an e-return is less likely to have processing delays than a paper return.

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How do I get a tax filing extension?

If you can’t file your taxes by the deadline, apply for an automatic extension. It will grant you until October 17 to file. However, a filing extension is not a payment extension. If you need more time to file there are options:

  1. Mail IRS Form 4868 with tax payment
    • Be sure when you send in your estimated payment it is in the form of check or money order.
  2. Make an electronic payment
    • You can avoid the tax forms by doing it all online. If you pay all or part of your owed tx electronically, you can indicate extension payment. The IRS will be notified for your request for a delayed due date.
  3. Submit form 4868 using free file and sent payment by mail
    • You can file the form online using free file and send your payment in via mail. If you can’t pay your owed taxes, file Form 4868 anyways and try to establish a payment plan with the IRS.

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