Free food is great and all, but is that really what you want on Tax Day? I suppose if you’ve already filed and you’re just waiting for a refund check, then you may have an appetite for a free Hard Rock Cafe burger, a Schlotzksky’s sandwich, or red velvet cake at Tony Roma’s. But if you’re like many other taxpayers, you have had to work for every dime you earn and you maybe haven’t had time to get your taxes done yet. Of course, it is also difficult to be motivated to file when you know you’re going to owe. It you fit this description, then maybe you’re looking for a more valuable bit of Tax Day info, like how to file an extension.
Keep in mind that the automatic extension is “automatic” because it is granted to anyone who asks without the need to show reasonable cause, not because it happens automatically. You have to so something. You have to ask for it**. The IRS website is extremely sluggish right now due to all the extra traffic it gets this time of year, but requesting an extension online using Form 4868 is still the fastest and most convenient way to do it.
You can file it with your electronic payment, through your tax filing software, or through your tax professional. You’ll need your name, address, and social security number. You will also be asked to estimate your 2014 tax liability, provide the amount you have paid towards that liability (if any), the amount you are sending in with the form (if any), and lastly, the total remaining liability.
So, what do you get when you file an extension? How is six extra months? Congratulations, you may take a deep breath and relax a little because you don’t have to file until October 15th now. But, there is one big “BUT” associated with filing an automatic extension: an extension to file does not also give you an extension to pay. If you don’t pay on time then you’ll be charged interest and late payment penalties.
**You don’t even have to request an extension if you are a US citizen living abroad, or if you are serving in the military outside the US.