How to File for a Tax Extension in 2024?

Tax Extension - How to File One in 2024? | Inkle Blog

If the thought of not meeting the tax deadline is looming over you and you're considering filing for an extension, rest assured you're in good company. In 2023, the IRS noted that nearly 19 million taxpayers opted for extensions to submit their income tax returns, a trend that's expected to continue in 2024.

Realizing you have the option to delay filing your documents can be a huge sigh of relief. However, it's crucial to understand that an extension gives you more time to file, but it doesn't extend the deadline for your tax payment. To avoid late fees and interest accumulation, it's wise to calculate your estimated taxes and pay what you owe as soon as you can.

What Does it Mean to Get a Tax Extension?

A tax extension gives you extra time to submit your federal income tax return to the IRS. By requesting an extension, you can dodge penalties for filing late.

To apply for an extension, you need to fill out and send Form 4868 to the IRS, either digitally or through the postal service, by the tax deadline. For the year 2024, if you get your extension request in by April 15, you will only need to file your taxes on October 15. Just make sure your application is accurate to prevent it from being denied.

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Understanding the Function of Tax Extensions

There's a common myth that tax extensions also extend the time you have to pay your taxes, but that's not the case. An extension solely provides additional time to submit your tax return. For those who find themselves unable to pay their tax bill on time, the IRS offers various payment plans, allowing you to settle your dues in manageable installments.

Requesting an extension can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have not received all necessary tax documents or need more time to organize their financial information.

Suppose you owe taxes and can't submit your return by the due date. In that case, the IRS advises estimating your tax liability and paying as much as possible to minimize interest and late-payment charges. 

Suppose you pay at least 90% of your total tax liability by the original deadline and cover the remainder when you file. In that case, you may qualify for a reduction in late-payment penalties. Tools like the Estimated Tax Worksheet on Form 1040-ES or tax software can help you calculate your estimated taxes.

For those expecting a refund, the IRS doesn't penalize late filings if you're due to receive money back. Nevertheless, opting for a tax extension as a precaution can still be wise. It safeguards against potential penalties if you've underestimated your tax liability and actually owe money.

Filing for a Tax Extension: A Step-by-Step Guide

To request a tax extension, you need to submit Form 4868 to the IRS, which can be done online or through traditional mail by the tax filing deadline. Interestingly, if you make an estimated tax payment online by tax day and indicate that this payment is for an extension, you may bypass the form submission process.

Here's a look at some common methods for requesting a tax extension:

  • IRS Free File: For individuals with an adjusted gross income of $79,000 or less, the IRS offers access to free, premium tax preparation software through a partnership with the Free File Alliance. This service is available on the IRS website, where you can file an extension online regardless of your income level.
  • Tax Software: Many tax software programs include support for filing Form 4868. By following the software's guidance, you can submit your tax extension request electronically. Upon submission, the IRS will confirm receipt with an electronic acknowledgement.
  • Tax Professional: Consulting with a tax expert or preparer can simplify the process, as they can request an extension on your behalf.
  • By Mail: If you want a more traditional approach, Form 4868 can be completed and mailed to the IRS. To ensure your request is acknowledged, send it with a tracking option and ensure it's postmarked by the April 15 deadline.

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Automatic Tax Extensions for Overseas Taxpayers and Military Personnel

For some individuals, the rush to file for a tax extension might be optional, thanks to automatic extensions under specific conditions.

U.S. citizens or residents who find themselves outside the country on the tax deadline are granted an automatic 2 month extension to file their returns and settle any taxes owed. This extension is applied without the need to formally request it.

Those impacted by certain natural disasters also benefit from automatically extended deadlines, which vary based on the disaster; it's advisable to consult the list of eligible disasters for more details.

Additionally, military personnel may be eligible for automatic extensions, depending on their location and duties at the time.

States with Extended Federal Tax Deadlines Due to Natural Disasters

In response to natural disasters declared by FEMA, several states have seen extensions for their federal tax filing and payment deadlines. This extension encompasses deadlines for individual income tax, business taxes, and quarterly tax filings.

Typically, this relief is available exclusively to residents and businesses situated within counties designated by the IRS as impacted by the disaster. However, if you were unable to meet the tax filing deadline because your tax preparer resides in one of these counties or if the documents necessary for filing your return were located within a disaster-affected area, you might qualify for an extension as well. 

For further information and specifics, visiting the IRS disaster relief webpage is recommended.


What's the Deadline for Filing Taxes with an Extension?

Securing an extension and making a preliminary tax payment marks just the beginning; you must still submit your final tax return. For the year 2024, the deadline to file if you've requested an extension is October 15. Failing to meet this extended deadline will result in penalties.

What is the Cost of Filing a Tax Extension?

Filing for a tax extension won't cost you a dime. By sending Form 4868 to the IRS before the tax filing deadline, you can secure an extension at no charge. This grants you an extra six months, up until October, to submit your federal tax return.

How Many Tax Extensions Are Allowed?

You're entitled to a single automatic six-month extension, which pushes the deadline for filing your federal tax return to mid-October.

What are the Consequences of Filing Taxes Late?

If your tax return is late but you're due a refund, the IRS won't penalize you. However, if you owe taxes and file late, the IRS will charge a failure-to-file penalty, which can reach as high as 25% of the taxes you owe.

How do you Request an Extension for State Taxes?

To find out how to apply for a state tax extension, it's best to visit the website of your state's tax authority, as the guidelines can differ from one state to another. Depending on where you live, you might need to request an extension actively, or it might be automatically applied. Additionally, in some states, securing a federal tax extension automatically extends your state tax deadline as well.

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