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How Do You Apply For An Extension?

April 4, 2016 : Sasha Drakulovic – The Tax Institute

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Sometimes you just can’t get everything ready to file taxes by the deadline. Fortunately, taxpayers will have three extra days this season to file their 2015 returns because the usual April 15 deadline will be on April 18 this year, for most calendar year taxpayers.

Why is the deadline later this year? This is because Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on that Friday, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday for most of the nation. If you’re not able to file by the due date, for example, if you are waiting to receive a tax identification number or form, you can file for an extension. The IRS has several extensions available for taxpayers outside of the country and an automatic six-month extension for everyone else.

Even if you get an extension, this does not grant you any extension of time to pay your tax liability. The tax is still due on the original tax return due date (April 18), and interest will accrue if you don’t pay by this date. You should apply for an extension early so that if it’s rejected, you won’t get hit with a failure to file penalty.

Automatic six-month extension for everyone:

If you don’t meet the requirements for the automatic two month extension, you can still get the automatic six month extension (October 17, 2016, for most calendar year taxpayers), This extension is applied for by using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This form must be filed by the original due date (April 18).

If you are a Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ filer, and you cannot file your return by the due date, you should file Form 4868. You must file Form 4868 by the regular due date of the return. If you did not receive wages as an employee subject to U.S. income tax withholding, and your return is due June 15, 2016, check the box on line 9.

Automatic two-month extension for taxpayers living abroad:

In order to qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien AND on the regular due date of your return:

  • You must be living outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or
  • You are in military or naval service on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

If the regular due date of your return is April 18, this extension will make your new due date June 15, 2016, (or the next business day if this date falls on a weekend or legal holiday). To use this automatic two-month extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the two situations listed earlier qualifies you for the extension.

If you still aren’t able to file within the two-month extension period, you can get an additional four months, for a total of a six-month extension. This is done by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return by the June due date.

Having trouble deciding which extension applies to you? Visit your local H&R Block office for help.

Sasha Drakulovic – The Tax Institute

Sasha Drakulovic – The Tax Institute

H&R Block

Sasha is a tax research analyst specializing in international tax issues and real property. She received her J.D. and LLM from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

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