How to Fill Out Tax Extension Form 4868

Tammy Logston
by Tammy Logston, Contributor

 

In order to obtain a tax extension for filing your income taxes, a taxpayer must complete and return the IRS Tax Form entitled “Application for Extension of Time to File U. S. Individual Income Tax Return” (Tax Form 4868).  The form can either be completed online or by paper and mailed in, by April 15th, to the IRS office that you would normally mail your income tax return to.

Tax Extension Form 4868 is quite simple to complete.  Have your income tax return from the previous calendar year handy to estimate the amount of taxes you owe for the current year, provided your income hasn’t substantially changed and provided you still anticipate the same number of exemptions.  Also, if you are an hourly or salaried employee, have your W-2 Form available for reference.

Part I of Tax Extension Form 4868 is basic information ― your name, your address, your Social Security Number (as well as the Social Security Number of your spouse, if you plan to file a joint tax return).

In Part II of Tax Extension Form 4868, you will need to estimate the total tax liability for the previous calendar year and enter that figure into the appropriate field.  If you want to avoid paying any interest or penalties, estimate this figure a little higher than you anticipate.

Next, consult your W-2 form if you are an hourly or salaried employee and enter the amount of taxes you’ve already withheld for the preceding calendar year.  If you are self-employed, enter the amount of taxes you’ve already paid in the preceding year.  Then, simply subtract the amount of taxes already paid from the anticipated taxes owed ― the balance is the amount of income taxes you expect to owe for the previous year.

On the line immediately following “Balance Due” on the Tax Extension Form, enter the amount you will be including with the your Application for Extension of Time to File, whether all or part of the anticipated taxes owed.

The last couple of lines on Tax Extension Form 4868, Section II, ask whether you are a United States Citizen or resident and are living outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico at the time the income tax return is due.  If you are out of the country when the time the income tax return is due, April 15th, you do not need to file for a tax extension ― you are automatically granted until June 15th to file your tax return.  However, if you complete Tax Extension Form 4868 and check the box indicating you are out of the country, you will be allowed a tax extension until October 15th.

The final entry in Section II of Tax Extension Form 4868 is for those individuals who normally file Tax Form 1040NR or Tax Form 1040NR-EZ and do not receive wages subject to U. S. income tax withholding.