What is Form 7004?

Form 7004, officially titled "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns," is a tax form businesses and exempt organisations use to request an extension of time to file their tax returns. 

This form provides a convenient way to extend the deadline for filing certain business income tax returns, such as those related to partnerships, corporations, and certain trusts.

Filing Form 7004 can be helpful if you require more time to gather the necessary documentation, compute your tax liability accurately or if you're facing unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from meeting the original tax filing deadline.

Who Can Use Form 7004?

The following types of entities can use this form to request an extension:

  1. Corporations: Both C corporations and S corporations can use Form 7004 to extend the deadline for filing their income tax returns.
  2. Partnerships: Partnership tax returns, typically filed on Form 1065, can also request extensions using Form 7004.
  3. Trusts: Certain trusts, including grantor trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and others, are eligible for an extension using this form.
  4. Exempt Organizations: Tax-exempt organizations that need additional time to file their information returns, such as Form 990 for charitable organizations, can utilize Form 7004.
  5. Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (REMICs): REMICs can use Form 7004 to request an extension for filing their tax returns.

Before using Form 7004, reviewing the specific tax return instructions is crucial to ensure that your organization qualifies for an extension. Each return type has its requirements and criteria, and not all returns are eligible for extension.

When is Form 7004 Due?

It's important to note that even with an extension, you must make an estimate of any taxes owed and ensure that this amount is submitted by the designated due date.

For most business tax returns, the preferred extension method is through the submission of Form 7004, officially titled "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File." This extension request should be made by the original due date of the tax return.

The due dates for extensions vary based on the type of business entity:

  • Corporations: If your business is an S corporation, the extension is due by the 15th day of the third month following the close of your tax year. For C corporations, the extension deadline is the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the tax year. For example, if your C corporation operates on a calendar year basis with a year-end of December 31, 2023, you must file your 2023 extension request by April 15, 2024.
  • Partnerships: In the case of businesses as a partnership, the extension is due by the 15th day of the third month post the end of your tax year. For instance, if your partnership operates on a calendar year schedule with a year-end of December 31, 2023, you should file your 2023 tax return or extension request by March 15, 2023.

Why Use Form 7004?

Several situations can necessitate the use of Form 7004 to request an extension:

  1. Complex Tax Returns: Businesses and organisations with difficult financial situations may need extra time to ensure their tax returns are accurate and complete.
  2. Delays in Document Gathering: Gathering all the necessary financial documents, such as receipts, invoices, and other records, can be a time-consuming process. Form 7004 allows you to postpone the filing deadline until you have all the required information at your disposal.
  3. Unforeseen Circumstances: Life is unpredictable, and sometimes, unforeseen events can disrupt your ability to meet the original filing deadline. These circumstances might include natural disasters, health issues, or other unexpected events that impede your ability to complete your tax return on time.
  4. Peace of Mind: Even if you believe you can meet the original deadline, applying for an extension can provide peace of mind. It ensures that you won't face penalties if something unexpected does occur.
  5. Overlap with Personal Tax Returns: Business income is often reported on the owners' tax returns for pass-through entities like S corporations and partnerships. Extending the business return deadline can also extend the personal tax return's due date, avoiding conflicts or complications.

How to Fill Out Form 7004

Filling out Form 7004 may seem daunting, but it can be a straightforward process with careful attention to detail and a good understanding of your organization's tax situation. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to complete the form:

Step 1: Identify Your Entity

At the top of Form 7004, you need to provide basic information about your organization, including:
  • Legal name
  • Address
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • The type of return you're extending (e.g., Form 1120, Form 1065, Form 990)
Step 2: Select the Type of Extension

In Part I of the form, you will select the type of extension you are applying for:
  • "Automatic 6-Month Extension": This is the most common extension type.
  • "Additional Extension for Certain Forms": If you need an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension, select this option and provide a reason.
Step 3: Provide Payment Information

In Part II, estimate the amount of tax you owe & make the payment with your extension request. Failing to make a charge when required can result in penalties and interest. It's essential to follow the instructions in the form for making this estimate.
Step 4: Signature and Date

The form should be signed and dated by an authorized individual for your organization. If the organization is a corporation, this would typically be an officer; for a partnership, it would be a general partner; and for tax-exempt organizations, it's usually the principal officer.
Step 5: Submit the Form

Send the completed Form 7004 to the appropriate IRS address for your organization's location. The address will depend on your location and the type of return you're extending. Check the form's instructions for the most up-to-date address.

Do you still need clarification? Check out Inkle, and we will help you with Form 7004


Tips for Filling Out Form 7004

Filling out tax forms can be intimidating, but here are some tips to help you navigate Form 7004 with confidence:

  1. Double-Check Your Information: Ensure all the information on the form is accurate. Mistakes in the legal name, EIN, or address can cause processing delays.
  2. Calculate Your Estimated Tax: If you're making an estimated tax payment with your extension request, calculate it carefully. Underestimating your amount may result in penalties and interest.
  3. Apply Early: It's advisable to submit Form 7004 as early as possible to avoid any last-minute hiccups. The IRS recommends filing the form by the original due date of your return.
  4. Keep Records: Maintain a copy of the completed Form 7004, any payment confirmation, and any correspondence with the IRS. These documents can be valuable for your records and potential inquiries from the IRS.

What Happens After You File Form 7004?

Once you submit Form 7004 to the IRS, they will review your request. If approved, you'll receive an automatic extension of up to six months from the original due date of your tax return. 

It's important to understand that an extension of time to file is not an extension to pay any taxes owed. If you anticipate owing taxes, you should make a payment with your extension request.

If you underestimate your payment, the IRS may assess penalties for late payment, so making an estimate as accurate as possible is crucial.

Penalties for Not Filing Form 7004

Please file Form 7004 or file it by the original due date of your tax return to avoid significant penalties and interest charges. The penalties for not filing or filing late can vary depending on the type of tax return, but they can be substantial and accrue over time. 

  • Beware of IRS penalties and interest charges: If you underestimate your taxes, file your return late, or fail to provide the required information by the due date, your business may face costly penalties and interest.
  • Adjust due dates for fiscal year taxpayers: The previously mentioned dates assume your business follows a calendar year tax schedule. If your company operates on a fiscal year basis, you should modify your due dates accordingly. For instance, a corporation with a fiscal year ending on March 31, 2023, has a tax return due date of July 15, 2023.
  • Exception for corporations with fiscal years from July 1 to June 30: Corporations with fiscal years falling between July 1 and June 30 have specific deadlines. Initially, the deadline is September 15 (the 15th day of the 3rd month after the fiscal year's end), and the extension deadline is February 15 (five months after the initial deadline) for fiscal years ending through June 30, 2026. 
  • For fiscal years ending June 30, 2027, the filing deadline moves to October 15th (the 15th day of the 4th month after the fiscal year's end), and the extended deadline shifts to March 15th (six months after the initial deadline).

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To make the process of requesting an extension with Form 7004 as smooth as possible, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Miscalculating Estimated Tax: Be accurate when estimating the amount of tax you owe. Underestimating your payment can result in penalties and interest.
  2. Filing Late: Ensure that you submit Form 7004 by the original due date of your tax return to avoid any penalties.
  3. Incorrectly Identifying the Entity: Ensure you're using the correct legal name, EIN, and return type for your organisation.
  4. Sending to the Wrong Address: Check the form's instructions for the proper IRS address to send your Form 7004. Sending it to the wrong address can lead to processing delays.

What happens when Form 7004 is filed late? 

Suppose you miss the deadline for filing a 7004 tax extension or the tax return, which is March 15, 2023, for S-corporations and partnerships, and April 18, 2023, for corporations and other businesses. In that case, the IRS will assess interest and penalties on unpaid federal taxes.

In cases where you fail to file and owe taxes, a failure-to-file penalty is applied, amounting to 5% per month, up to a maximum of 5 months, based on the amount due. If your return is over 60 days overdue, a minimum penalty of $135 may be imposed. 

Additionally, if you file a return or extension but don't pay all your taxes on time, the IRS will impose a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% per month, up to a maximum of 25% of the amount due.

Is a state extension necessary for you? 

State rules concerning extension requests differ. Often, if you don't owe state taxes, you can utilize your federal automatic extension to extend the deadline for your state return(s). 

Before seeking a state extension, it's advisable to consult your state's tax form instructions or seek guidance from their tax assistance resources.

Form 7004 for S-Corporations

  • Suppose your business operates as an S corporation from its inception. In that case, it is typically considered an extension of the shareholders for various tax purposes and usually won't have its tax liability. However, in cases where your S corporation was previously a C corporation, it might be subject to corporate-level taxes in specific circumstances. 
  • It's essential for an S corporation to furnish a Schedule K-1 to each shareholder, outlining their respective portions of the corporation's income and deductions for the tax year.
  • If your calendar-year S corporation owes taxes for the year 2023, you will incur interest charges on any unpaid amount if not paid by March 15, 2024.
  • If the S corporation fails to settle its entire tax debt by that date, it might be liable for a penalty equating to 0.5% of the outstanding tax for each month it remains unpaid, with the penalty capped at 25% of the total due tax.
  • Suppose the S corporation neglects to file its 2023 return (which should include a Schedule K-1 for each shareholder) on time. In that case, it may face an additional penalty of $210 per shareholder per month for each month the return is overdue, up to a maximum of 12 months.
  • If you anticipate requiring more time to prepare the S corporation's return, consider filing for an extension using Form 7004. This extension will extend the due date for your calendar-year 2023 S corporation return until September 15, 2024.

Form 7004 for Partnerships

Similar to an S corporation, a partnership is not liable for taxes on its own; instead, it is generally treated as an extension of the partners themselves. Partnerships are required to provide a Schedule K-1 to all partners, elucidating each partner's portion of the partnership's earnings and deductions for the year.

In the event you fail to submit your 2023 partnership return, which should include a Schedule K-1 for every partner, by the specified deadline, you may incur a penalty. This penalty amounts to $210 per partner for each month the return remains outstanding, with a maximum duration of 12 months.

For a calendar-year partnership, the due date for the 2023 return is March 15, 2024. If you anticipate needing additional time to assemble your return, request an extension using Form 7004. This extension will shift the due date for your partnership return to September 15, 2024.



In Conclusion

IRS Form 7004 provides businesses and exempt organisations a valuable tool to extend the deadline for filing certain business income tax returns. It can be an essential resource for those who need more time to ensure the accuracy and completeness of their tax returns, face unexpected circumstances, or require additional time for document gathering.

Meet the team behind Inkle on LinkedIn.