Filing an Extension: Step by Step

A wise taxpayer knows his limits.  With exactly one week remaining to file your income taxes, you should know by now if they’re going to be done on time.  If you can’t get all the figures together and you can’t do a decent job on your taxes right now, maybe you need to file an extension.  Here’s how:

  1. Visit the IRS Free File web page
  2. Under “Choose a Free File Option,” click on “Browse the list of Free File companies” (this will take you to a comprehensive list of non-IRS Free File companies)
  3. Choose one of the Free File companies and this will lead you away from the IRS website — click on “Leave IRS Site”
  4. Find the Free Extension link and follow the instructions; it should take no more than 5 minutes

The beauty of doing this electronically is you get an email confirmation, no stamp, no paper.  But you can still do it the old-fashioned way by filling out a paper Form 4868.

Remember, an extension will not provide you with unfettered tax relief.  It gives you an additional six months to file, but it does not give you additional time to pay.  Interest and failure to pay penalties still apply.  Good luck!

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