For most individuals, IRS taxes are due on Tuesday, April 18 this year. Typically, Tax Day falls on April 15, but due to the weekend and the observance of Emancipation Day, a holiday recognized in Washington, D.C., there is still an opportunity to file and make payments. Furthermore, residents in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, New York, and other states impacted by tornadoes, flooding, and other natural disasters have extra time to file.
In case you are unable to meet the deadline, you will have to request a complimentary tax extension from the IRS as you prepare your 2022 taxes. Here are the steps to do so. It’s important to note upfront that a tax extension will only extend the deadline for filing your tax return by six months, and will not alter the payment deadline for any taxes owed to the IRS.
How to Request a Tax Extension from the IRS
In simpler terms, if you apply for a 2023 tax extension, you will have until October 16th to prepare and submit your federal income tax return, but this deadline may differ for your state. The process of extension varies depending on whether you overpaid taxes during the year and anticipate a tax refund, or underpaid taxes and owe money to the IRS.
As most taxpayers expect refunds from the IRS, it’s probable that you will need to follow these instructions to file your extension. The process of requesting an automatic extension to file your tax return is quite straightforward, and you do not have to justify the reason for the extension or wait for approval. You can simply file the extension form online or by mail.
It is advisable to opt for online methods, as the IRS is typically slower in processing physical paperwork. To request a tax extension online, you can begin by utilizing the IRS’s Free File tools. These guided tax software programs can be used by anyone, regardless of income, to submit the extension request without directly filling out any forms.
However, if you prefer to manually complete and submit the extension request form, Form 4868, you can use the IRS’s Free Fillable Forms tool.
In case you are unable to submit your extension request online, you can print Form 4868 and complete it manually. Subsequently, mail the filled-out form directly to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The particular IRS location you need to mail it to will depend on your state. You can find the appropriate address on Page 4 under “Where To File a Paper Form 4868.”
Options for Handling Taxes Owed to the IRS
In case you have a tax debt owed to the IRS, you must make a payment by Tuesday to avoid penalties and interest. When making a partial or full payment, you can specify that it is for an extension, and the IRS will process it automatically without requiring any additional forms. But what if you are uncertain if you can submit the payment by Tax Day? In such a scenario, you will have to request an extension.
The process for requesting an extension is the same as described earlier: You can utilize the IRS’s Free File tools or submit Form 4868 by mail. However, if you are not using tax preparation software and have to complete the form manually, be prepared to do some calculations. On lines 4 through 7, you will need to estimate the amount you owe and the payment you plan to make. (Note that you are not required to enclose payment with this form; it is just an estimate.)
Additionally, the IRS offers short-term and long-term payment plans for individuals who are unable to pay their tax bills by the deadline. By enrolling in a plan, you can reduce substantial tax penalties.