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How to File for a Tax Extension

Today is the tax deadline [1]. Have you filed your tax return yet? If you are mailing your tax return, it must be postmarked today. If you are efiling with a program like TurboTax [2], you must submit your electronic return today.

But what if you cannot meet the tax deadline? There are certain circumstances when a person needs to file for an extension from the April filing deadline. If you won’t meet the tax deadline today, it’s a good time to review how and when to file for an extension, as well as the possible delays in filing and receiving your refunds [3].

Tax Due Dates

We all know the significance of the April tax deadline, but what about June 15 and October 15 [4]?

If you are living outside of the country on the tax deadline in April, you are allowed two months extra time (June 15) to send in your tax return without needing to file for an extension.

Tax Extension Deadline: October 15 is your new tax filing deadline if you file for an extension.

Does a Tax Extension Give You More Time to Pay?

No. While filing for an extension does not extend the timeline for paying any taxes owed [5], it will grant you extra time to get your paperwork in order. 

If you know that you owe money, you should pay this money by the April tax deadline in order to avoid any penalties or fees associated with late payment (you can estimate your taxes owed either by using your previous year’s taxes as an example, or by using an online tax calculator [6]).

If there are no taxes owed, or you expect to receive a refund, then you will not be penalized for filing late [7].  

In order to get a filing extension, you will need to submit the paperwork (discussed below) by the April tax deadline.

How to File for an Extension

An extension will grant you an extra six months to submit your tax forms. You will need to:

More on Taxes