Taxpayers who are interested to know how to file a tax extension online will need more than tax forms to move the deadline by six additional months.
In this article:
- Tax Extension Payment: Direct Pay and Card Payment
- Filing Tax Extension Online: IRS E-File Form 4868
- How To File Tax Extension Traditionally: Use the Tax Extension IRS Form 4868
Tax Extension Online | 3 Methods of Filing
Important Information About How to File Tax Extension Online
When taxpayers file a tax extension online to avoid heavy fines and fees from late filing or paying of taxes, most receive a pushback since the process was not done properly. The IRS online tax extension process is actually simple, but taxpayers can still get confused.
A tax extension can help everyone, especially those who are undergoing financial difficulties.
Also, with the IRS accepting a tax extension, burdensome processes like wage garnishment are put on hold in the meantime. Usually, a tax extension is good for six months, but there are exceptions to the rule, like active military service.
Specifically, personnel in active military service, as well as taxpayers residing outside the United States, have an automatic extension of two months. However, these taxpayers should try to submit their tax extension online or via mail.
For military personnel as explained by the IRS Combat Zome Resource, the tax filing extends even further. For example, if the taxpayer filed late on April 15 due to military service of 90 days, he can get the additional six months plus the automatic two months and then have an additional 90 days added, generally speaking.
If there’s no way to make it to the tax deadline, then get a tax extension form.
Generally, taxpayers can’t get more time than what’s allowed, but you can ask for an extension.
So here are the three ways to file an extension to save time, confusion, and automatically move the deadline to six months further away.
1. Tax Extension Payment: Direct Pay and Card Payment
This is the first method of filing an online tax extension on an income tax return. Taxpayers have the option to pay everything or just a portion of the taxes due.
Important: If a taxpayer can pay at least part of the taxes, the IRS considers this act as a sign of good faith. That means there is a higher chance that taxpayers can get their tax extension online with minimal wait time.
Simply choose between Direct Pay or use a credit/debit card to make the payment.
- For Direct Pay on the IRS website, go to the “Payments” tab and click on IRS Direct Pay. This method requires your banking information, but it won’t charge an amount or penalty when making the payment.
The screen will show a drop-down menu that says “Reason for Payment” then choose Extension. Apply the payment to 4868, which is the extension form, and choose the tax period for the year of filing.
Click continue and simply go through the rest of the steps to enter information like name, social security, bank details, and so on.
- Back to the “Payments” tab, click on “Pay by Card.” There are different portals that appear on the screen, which also show the fees associated.
At this point, click on the first option which is PayUSAtax.com. Under “Personal Taxes” choose “Make a Personal Payment” then click on “Other Tax Types” and choose the radio button that says “Pay your Form 4868 Automatic Extension of Time To File.” Remember the only difference between Direct Pay and payment using credit/debit card is a small fee.
While technically not an online tax extension, paying part of the tax debt allows an extension, as well as places a cap on penalties if ever a taxpayer files or pays late. It bears repeating that showing good faith not only increases the chances of having a tax extension approved, but also other remedies and options like an Offer In Compromise.
2. Filing Tax Extension Online: IRS E-File Form 4868
The second method is the IRS e-file extension. For taxpayers interested in filing a tax extension online, this is the relatively easiest method to use.
Back on the IRS website, go to the “Filing” tab and click “Free File.” For some taxpayers, they can just click on the “File” button on the upper right corner.
Due to the changes in the IRS website, a taxpayer can find “Free File” on the upper center portion inside the “Keep your taxes on the right track” box. IRS Free File is usually available until October 15, which is six months after the tax deadline of April 15.
On the next screen click on “E-file your extension,” which leads to a page with several software packages to choose from. When taxpayers submit tax extension online using e-file, they can minimize the fees from mailing the form.
Depending on when you start to e-file, taxpayers may get a screen stating the tax extension is not available, especially if they opened on October 15.
At this point, choose “Taxslayer” and you’ll be directed to a screen to file for free.
This way, taxpayers will be able to file electronically for a free tax extension. The taxpayer can request tax extension online easily.
3. How To File Tax Extension Traditionally: Use the Tax Extension IRS Form 4868
This is the old-fashioned way of filing an extension. The form has everything you need to know about extensions and instructions for filling out the form.
For a more convenient search for IRS Form 4868, taxpayers can get a Form 4868 copy. Taxpayers can also contact their nearest IRS local branch office.
The first part is the conventional information needed like your name, address, city, state, zip code, and social security number.
On Part II of the form, do your best estimate of the total tax liability and total withholdings or W2. Get the difference and that’s how much is owed and the check amount to mail in.
Furthermore, taxpayers who live outside the country should check boxes 8 and 9 and see if it applies to their status.
Here are a few notes to remember in making a payment before sending a check:
- Don’t send cash and make sure it’s payable to the U.S. Treasury. Using the IRS as the recipient makes it easier for criminals to change the name.
- The check must have the social security number and daytime phone number written on it. This requirement may raise some doubts to those who prioritize the secrecy of their SSN.
- Avoid stapling the payment on the form 4868. Some taxpayers just mail an envelope containing the check together with the form, rather than staple the check and the form together.
That’s about everything taxpayers need to know about filing an extension. They can either pay electronically or opt for the conventional way by manually filling out the form 4868. Just remember, the extension is only for filing the return and interests still have to be paid for the postponement.
A taxpayer looking for an online tax extension will benefit from knowing the methods and processes available. The earlier the taxpayer files, the faster the approval and the lesser the penalties.
Considering applying for an IRS tax extension online process? How do you plan to go about it? Let us know in the comments section below.
If you owe back taxes, visit taxreliefcenter.org for more information on tax relief options.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 28, 2018 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.