Sometimes you know you’re going to be late, and the IRS has a form for that! IRS Form 4868 gets you an extra six months to file your federal income tax return with the IRS. Sounds great, right? Well be warned that if you owe income tax, you don’t get extra time to pay your tax, unfortunately.
That begs the question, “how do I know whether or not I owe if I don’t actually do my taxes?”
Here’s what to do if you want more time to file your income tax return but don’t know whether you’ll owe money or not: guess. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you’ll owe and how much if you do end up owing money on your tax return.
- Did I owe taxes last year?
- Has anything changed this tax year in my life that would affect my tax situation? Married? Divorced? Kids? Bought a home? New job? Started/ended school? Received an inheritance? These things can change whether or not you owe taxes.
- If nothing has really changed in your life that would affect your tax return, you can use last year’s return to estimate how much you’ll owe the IRS this year.
Submit IRS Form 4868 With Estimated Tax Payment
When you submit IRS Form 4868, also send the IRS a check made out for the amount you think you’ll owe once you do file your return. If you’re using last year’s tax amount due, this is easy. If something in your life has changed that would affect your tax return, then add to or subtract from last year’s amount due.
These things would reduce your tax liability…
- Having children
- Buying a home (maybe, if the mortgage interest is deductible)
- Starting school (maybe, if you get an Education Credit)
Filing for an Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
IRS Form 4868 is located here on the IRS website. It’s a simple paper form you can print out and easily fill out, then mail to the IRS. Send your check with the form, if applicable.
You can also apply for a tax extension with our commercial tax preparation software. Just follow the instructions.