Tax Extensions Explained

Chris Bibey
by Chris Bibey

In some situations, a tax extension is absolutely necessary. However, some people file for an extension every year even if they don’t actually need one. While this is not a good habit, it is something that taxpayers are able to do.

If you are not in the United States when your tax return is due, you will probably need a tax extension. Not only can you get a six month extension, but the IRS may grant you two additional months if you explain your situation to them.

You never know when an emergency (personal or financial) will pop up and force you to drop everything else. If this happens during tax season, you should file a tax extension. It will give you six more months to file and, more importantly, you won’t have to worry about organizing your taxes during this difficult time of your life.

Are you having a difficult time finding all the receipts that you accumulated during the past year? Did you misplace your W-2 or 1099s? While you could rush to file your taxes with what you have, there is no good reason you should take that risk. Rushing through your tax return often leads to mistakes ― and those mistakes can be costly.

If you wait too long to schedule an appointment with your tax professional, you may find that he or she is booked up through April 15th. Rather than filing your own return (which is risky if you don’t know what you’re doing), you can request a tax extension. When the madness of tax season dies down, you can then visit with your tax professional and take things from there.

To request a tax extension, fill out IRS Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) and submit it to the IRS by April 15. Keep in mind that you must also send payment for any taxes due. Taxpayers may also file for an online tax extension at websites such as: FileLater.com or TaxExtension.org.

Whether or not you apply for a tax extension is your decision. If you are facing any of the issues above, an extension may be just what you’re looking for. Remember, it is better to take advantage of a tax extension than to file and pay late.