Extensions of Time to File Your Tax Return

If you can't meet the April 17 deadline to file your tax return, you can get a four-month extension of time from the IRS.  The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork in to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have paid less than 90 percent of your total tax by that date.
You must make an accurate estimate of any tax due when you request an extension.  You may also send a payment for the expected balance due, but this is not required to obtain the extension.


To get the automatic extension, file Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return, with the IRS by the April 17 deadline, or make an extension-related electronic payment.  You can also file your extension request by phone or by computer instead of using the paper Form 4868.


The IRS has a special toll-free phone line for people to request extensions by telephone.  The number is 1-888-796-1074.  Use Form 4868 as a worksheet to prepare for the call and have a copy of your tax return.


Last Reviewed: July 21, 2008

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