What Is Tax Form 4868?

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

Need more time to file? File an IRS tax extension and you can wait until October 15th to file your income tax return, with no penalties whatsoever.

An IRS tax extension allows you to put-off tax day for six additional months. The IRS will gladly give you this extra time to file, even if you owe taxes. As long as you file your tax extension on or before the original filing deadline (typically April 15th) and then file your return by October 15th, you will not be penalized.

It’s important to note that filing a tax extension is not a free pass to ignore your taxes. Rather, it’s an agreement with the IRS that you will file your taxes within the six extra months you’ve been granted. Once you file the extension, it’s recommended that you take the proper steps to file your actual return. Once October 15th rolls around, there is absolutely no delaying your taxes any further.

Also remember this: a tax extension only gives you more time to file, not more time to pay. If you owe taxes, you must still send your payment to the IRS by the original due date of your return (usually April 15th). Keep this in mind when you are filing for a tax extension using IRS Tax Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return), because you must report any balance due in Part II of that form. Your payment should be submitted with your 4868 Tax Form ― otherwise, you will be charged interest on any amount that not paid by the original deadline.

IRS Form 4868 is the Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return.

If you are not able to file your federal individual income tax return by the due date, you may be able to get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file. To do so, you must file Tax Form 4868 by the original due date for filing your tax return (April 18th for the 2011 tax season).

Form 4868 is a tax extension for individuals reporting their income to the IRS. This includes all taxpayers who file 1040s, contractors who file 1099s, as well as single member LLCs and Schedule C Sole Proprietors. Filing an  individual tax extension will extend your tax deadline to October for the following tax returns:

  • Tax Form 1040
  • Tax Form 1040A
  • Tax Form 1040EZ
  • Tax Form 1040NR
  • Tax Form 1040NR-EZ

It’s important to note that submitting Form 4868 does not extend the time for payment of tax, which is still owed by the original due date of your return. You will need to give an estimate of your tax due when filing for a tax extension ― and you can pay none, all, or part of your estimated income tax due using a credit card or checking/savings account.

The IRS will accept corrections to tax extension requests within a certain time period. If you chose to e-file Form 4868 through the FileLater system and it is rejected for any reason, you can correct and resubmit it at no extra charge.

FileLater supports taxpayers who are out of the country and have foreign addresses. However, there are exceptions pertaining to foreign corporations with no office or place of business within the United States, as well as certain domestic corporations and certain partnerships.