How to get a tax extension for your business

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

Tax extensions aren’t just for your personal income taxes. Businesses can also file for a tax extension if they need more time to file their business tax return.

However, many taxpayers do not know how to get a tax extension for their business.

Luckily, the process for requesting a business tax extension is pretty straight-forward and easy to accomplish — and if you have ever filed for a personal income tax extension, this should be a piece of cake.

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Determine If a Tax Extension is Necessary

Are you absolutely sure that requesting a business tax extension is necessary?

If there is any way you can buckle down and assemble your business’s tax return on time (by March 15), that is usually recommended. While getting extra time to file is convenient, it can occasionally lead to extra penalties and interest if you do not pay the tax due on time, or if you forget to file by the extended deadline.

Incurring interest and late fees will mean a higher tax payment for you in the long run.

On the other hand, sometimes there is simply no way you can file your business tax return by the original March 15 deadline. In that case, you should definitely request a business tax extension using IRS Tax Form 7004 (see below).

Make sure the tax extension request is submitted by the original filing due date of your business tax return (usually March 15).

READ: There's such a thing as being too fast to file

How to Request a Business Tax Extension

In order to get a tax extension for your business, you must first obtain the correct tax form.

IRS Tax Form 7004 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns) is the form most businesses will use to request a Federal tax extension.

In the past, taxpayers were required to submit a thorough explanation for why they needed a tax extension — but the IRS removed this prerequisite and no longer needs a reason.

As long as you file an extension request and pay any tax due on time, by the original March 15 deadline, you will receive an automatic extension of time to file your business tax return.

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Filling out Tax Form 7004 is relatively simple. You are asked to provide information about you and your business, as well as the amount of tax owed by the business that year.

Tax Form 7004 can be filed electronically online (a.k.a. “e-file”) or submitted in paper form by mail. Also remember that you will need to file a separate request with your state in order to receive a state business tax extension.