How to File the Federal Tax Extension Form

How to File the Federal Tax Extension Form February 16, 2012

Filing a tax extension is simple.  If you need extra time to work through your tax documents and just don’t think you’ll be able to finish your taxes by the April 18th tax deadline, you can file for an extension.  Once you file the tax extension form, you’ll have until October 17th 2012 to file your taxes (an extra 6 months).  This doesn’t mean that you get an extra 6 months to pay your taxes.  That’s why it’s so important to estimate you taxes owed and pay them before April 17, 2012.  Otherwise, you might end up with penalties and interest to pay the IRS.

How to File a Tax Extension Form

1. Estimate Your Taxes Owed

You’ll need to have an idea of how much you owe in taxes because you’ll need to send in the payment before April 17th.  Gather all your tax documents and create a rough estimate of what you’ll owe.

2. Download and Complete the Tax Extension Form

The IRS requires you to download and complete Form 4868.  Part I is your personal information and Part II is for your individual income tax.  You’ll need to be prepared to provide:

–       Estimate of total tax liability for 2011

–       Total 2011 Payments

If you were able to download the tax form successfully, click the +1 to the right.

3. Return the form By April 17

On the bottom of the form you’ll mail form 4868 to the appropriate address based on the state in which you live.

If you don’t file the tax extension form in time, you may have to pay a late payment and late filing penalty.

Late Payment Penalty

From to the IRS website:

The late payment penalty is usually 1/2 of 1% of any tax (other than estimated tax) not paid by April 17, 2012. It is charged for each month or part of a month the tax is unpaid. The maximum penalty is 25%.

Late Filing Penalty

From the IRS website:

A late filing penalty is usually charged if your return is filed after the due date (including  extensions). The penalty is usually 5% of the amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late.

The maximum penalty is 25%. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $135 or the balance of the tax due on your return, whichever is smaller.

You Can Even File an Extension Online

Sites like TurboTax, HR Block and TaxAct have features that allow you to file a tax extension online.  Some will charge but other (like TurboTax) wont.

Have you ever filed an extension on your taxes?  Do you plan on filing this year? 

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