April 15 (or April 17 as it so happens this year) is out of the question. Your taxes simply aren’t going to get done. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it; sometimes life just gets in the way, even when it comes to important things like filing your taxes. That’s why filing for an extension is an option in the first place. But how long is a tax extension?
First of all, if you know you’re not going to be able to file by the spring deadline, go ahead and find out how to file for a tax extension with our guide. Fill out your paperwork — the electronic forms offered by the IRS made it pretty easy — and then come back here to find out more. You’re going to get dinged with a hefty penalty if you don’t get that paperwork done, so first things first. We’ll wait here for you.
Already, all filed and ready to find out more? We break it down for you.
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How long is a tax extension anyway?
You filed your Form 4868, but only really skimmed the IRS site explaining the ins and outs — and now you can’t seem to find it again. Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. So, how long is a tax extension? If you’ve filed out your Form 4868 online, or on paper and have already sent it in, you’ve bought yourself six additional months to file your official tax forms. That means your tax forms aren’t due until October 15.
NOTE: We’ve reminded you, and we’ll tell you again to save you the penalties and fees: The IRS wants its money, even if you’re filing an extension. So even though the answer to how long is a tax extension is a rather generous six months, that doesn’t apply to the actual taxes you owe the government, only the forms you have to fill out for them. You’ll still need to pay an approximation of your taxes due in April or start on one of the payment plans the IRS has set up as an alternative to dropping a lump sum.
Check out the IRS website for their Payment Agreement Application, which will buy you more time to pay off all that you owe. It really is worth the extra time to avoid penalties, charges and interest on your outstanding payment.