How to Apply for an Income Tax Extension

How to Apply for an Income Tax Extension
••• A young woman holding a pen, doing her taxes image by Christopher Meder from

Form 4868 allows you to apply for an automatic extension of time to complete your U.S. income tax return. A taxpayer can seek the extension if she cannot file her income tax return by the April 15 deadline. The extension allows taxpayers an additional six months to file, until Oct. 15. Extensions need to be received by the Internal Revenue Service on or before April 15 to be considered valid.

Apply By Mail

Obtain a copy of Form 4868 from the Internal Revenue Service website using the link in Resources. Fill out the form with your personal information, including your name, address, Social Security number and your spouse’s information if you are married.

Calculate your estimated amount of tax due. Extending the due date for your tax return does not extend the due date for any tax you may owe. Taxes are calculated by estimating what you’ve paid to the government for the current tax year and comparing it to prior years. If you usually receive a refund and your situation hasn’t changed, there is no need to send a check to the IRS.

Mail your extension to the address listed on the second page of Form 4868. The address varies depending on the state where you live. Include a check for your estimated taxes if applicable.

Apply Electronically

Visit the Internal Revenue Service website and click on the link marked “E-File” to electronically file your Automatic Extension of Time form. Choose an online tax preparation company to use to electronically file your extension (see Resources).

Click on the link to the company of your choice and follow the prompts to fill out your extension.

Input your personal information and click on the “Submit My Extension” link to electronically transmit your extension request to the IRS.