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If you're having trouble getting your income tax return together in time for tomorrow's April 15th deadline for filing, you're not alone. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is expecting almost 10 million extension requests this year. Most importantly, there is still time to get an extension to file from the IRS, and from your state's tax agency. Here are a few tips on getting a tax extension:
You Must Request the IRS's Automatic 6-Month Extension. You can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file your federal tax return with the IRS -- without giving a reason or explanation -- but you have to file IRS Form 4868, Automatic Extension of Time to File. You can file electronically or by mail, just make sure the extension is postmarked on or before April 15th.
An Extension of Time to File IS NOT an extension of Time to Pay. If you owe money in taxes, you must estimate the amount owed and pay it in full when you file your extension. Failure to pay at least 90 percent of your total tax owed by the April deadline will result in late penalties and interest from the IRS.
What If Your Return is Complete But You Can't Pay? Taxpayers who complete their tax returns but can't pay the full amount of taxes owed SHOULD NOT file an extension. Instead, you should pay as much as you can and the IRS will send a bill for the balance due. Learn more about Tax Payment Options.
Getting an Extension from Your State's Tax Agency. Don't forget that in addition to filing your federal income tax return with the IRS, in most states you'll also need to file a state income tax return. And although most states use the same filing deadlines as the IRS, check with your state tax agency to verify the filing deadline and get specific information on the duration of the extension.