How to Get An IRS Tax Extension to File Your Tax Return

Everything you need to know about how to file a tax extension

If April 15 has come and gone and you still haven’t filed your taxes, don’t panic. You can get an extension on taxes through the IRS website until the very last minute. There’s no penalty for filing a tax extension.

You won’t get in trouble. You can avoid a failure-to-file penalty. And you’ll get up to six months more time to file.

Reasons People File Tax Extensions

Tax preparation can be challenging and stressful. Things happen and, even though Tax Day rolls around at roughly the same time each year, circumstances may prevent you from timely tax filing.

You may need an extension to file because you’re:

  • Missing tax paperwork
  • Need to gather receipts for deductions
  • Death or illness in the family
  • Are living and working overseas temporarily
  • A member of the military deployed overseas

Some military members and other U.S. ex-patriates may qualify for an automatic, two-month tax deadline extension. Other taxpayers may need to know how to file for a tax extension by April 15.

What Happens If You Miss the Tax Deadline in 2024?

If you miss the April 15 due date to file federal tax returns and pay taxes in 2024, you’ll want to file an extension as quickly as possible if you owe the IRS. That’s because the failure to file penalty equals 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month, or even partial month, that you haven’t filed, up to 25%. The sooner you file, the smaller the penalty will be.

If you don’t owe the IRS any money, you can file your taxes as late as three years after the tax deadline and collect your tax refund. After that, your money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. Don’t leave money on the table by failing to file your tax returns.

Is There a Penalty for Filing an Extension on Taxes?

There is no penalty and no fee for filing an extension on taxes. We’ll outline the steps to extend taxes below.

How Much Is the Penalty for an IRS Tax Extension?

As long as you file an extension on taxes by Tax Day, typically April 15, you won’t pay a penalty for failure to file.

You will pay a penalty for late payment, which equals 0.55 of the total amount due for each month, or partial month, you haven’t paid, to a maximum of 25% of the total taxes due.

How to Request an Extension for More Time to File Your Federal Tax Return

If you are unable to pay the total amount that is due, you are still encouraged to file your taxes.

You have three ways to file a personal tax return extension.

Pay Estimated Taxes and File an IRS Extension Online

When you pay your estimated personal federal income taxes for the year online with a debit or credit card, the IRS automatically grants an extension through October 15, 2024.

To avoid failure-to-pay penalties, you’ll want to include a payment for the taxes you expect to owe when you file an extension if you can. If your income situation hasn’t changed much since the prior year, you can take a shortcut by paying the same amount you paid last year.

But if you have gotten a second job, changed jobs, gotten married, or had a child, your tax situation may have changed. To calculate your estimated taxes, find your “total tax aggregate” on your paycheck, along with how much you’ve paid in taxes through the year. If you have any exemptions or deductions, reduce your income before estimating your tax liability. Then, deduct any tax credits from that number.

Pay the IRS what you believe you owe online for an automatic exemption. You can do this using:

  • The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
  • Direct Pay through your IRS Individual Online Account
  • Online with a credit or debit card or a digital wallet (there are fees associated with debit or credit card payment

Even if you only make a partial payment, the IRS will grant the extension.

Download and Mail IRS Form 4868

To fill out IRS Form 4868 you’ll need to gather some information:

  • Social Security Number
  • Legal Name
  • Address
  • Estimated Federal Income Taxes Owed

Fill out and mail the form, along with a check made out of the Treasury of the United States for your estimated tax payment. Even if you don’t include a check, the IRS should grant your extension.

Use IRS Free File Tax Software

You can use IRS Free File, regardless of your income level, to e-file a tax extension for free.

Keep in mind, an extension to file doesn’t give you more time to pay your taxes without penalties and interest. If you can’t pay what you owe, you could still qualify for certain plans, as well as other forms of tax relief.

Alleviate Tax can help you qualify for an IRS payment plan, partial pay installment agreement, or an offer-in-compromise to help you get back on track with the IRS.

Automatic Tax Extensions

The IRS grants automatic tax extensions to certain individuals. If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is in a foreign country, or if you are a member of the military stationed outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, you’ll get an automatic two-month extension to file and pay U.S. federal income taxes.

If you are a member of the U.S. military in a combat zone, hospitalized for service injuries outside the U.S., or deployed outside the U.S. in the armed forces away from your permanent duty station, you’ll get an automatic extension of 180 days after you return to your regular station or released from the hospital.

Can You Extend Taxes Past October 15?

In most cases, the IRS will not grant a tax filing extension past October 15. But if you can’t pay your tax debt, Alleviate Tax can help you find tax debt relief through a variety of IRS programs.

The worst thing you can do is ignore tax debt. Turn to a tax professional to help explore your options. No matter how much you owe, there is always a way out to avoid tax liens, wage garnishment, and the stress that comes with unpaid tax debt. Alleviate Tax is here to help you.


What happens if I don’t file my taxes by April 15 2024?

If you don’t file your taxes by the filing deadline and you owe the IRS money, you’ll pay failure-fo-file and failure-to-pay penalties. Unpaid taxes can lead to tax levies, tax liens, and wage garnishment. If the IRS believes you failed to file to evade taxes, you could even face jail time.

Can you file a tax extension electronically?

It’s easy to file a tax extension electronically through the IRS Free File program or by making an estimated tax payment online.

What is the easiest way to file a tax extension?

The easiest way to file a tax extension is by making an estimated tax payment online with a debit or credit card, through the EFTS system, or online through Direct Pay. Simply check the box for “extension” when you make your payment.

Is there a penalty for filing an extension on your taxes?

You won’t pay any failure-to-file penalties when you ask for an extension on your taxes by the tax deadline. But you will still pay failure-to-pay penalties and interest on the taxes you owe if you have unpaid tax debt.



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