How Do I File a 4868 Form Electronically?

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If you need more time to prepare your federal tax return and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service, there are options available. There are several ways to file form 4868, but filing electronically can save you time. E-filing form 4868 can get you a six-month extension on your personal income tax return, but does not guarantee you won't owe any money to the IRS.

E-filing Form 4868

According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are several ways to file form 4868 to get a six-month extension to file your tax return beyond the April 15 filing deadline. To file electronically, you must go through a tax preparer who will file the extension for you electronically, or submit the form to the IRS using tax preparation software, such as TurboTax or TaxCut. The programs will walk you through your e-file step by step. You'll be required to fill in your personal information, your estimated tax liability and estimate the amount of a refund or payment to the IRS.

If you owe taxes, you can pay electronically via credit card or by withdrawing funds electronically through your checking or savings accounts. Be sure to have account or credit card numbers on hand, whether you e-file yourself or get a professional to do it.

You can also find online companies and sites to submit form 4868 by visiting and typing "free file" into the search feature at the top of the page.

How to Fill Out Form 4868

Begin by filling out Part 1 of the form with your name, or if filing jointly, your name and your spouse's name. Enter the street address, city, state and ZIP code where you'd like to receive any further correspondence from the IRS. If your address is different from last year's tax return, you must submit a change of address form, according to

Submit form 8822, change of address, along with your extension request. In part 2 of the form, estimate any tax liability for the past year. You can combine two amounts if filing jointly. Include what you paid in taxes on your previous tax return, then subtract the first amount from the second amount. The remainder is what you need to pay the IRS. If the number is negative, enter 0.


If you don't pay any money owed the IRS by April 15, the IRS will charge you interest on any taxes owed, as form 4868 only allows you extra time to file the tax return. You must submit your completed tax return by October 15 of the same year.

Not everyone will qualify for an extension. According to, to qualify you must use any information available to estimate a refund or any payment required, submit that total on the 4868 form and file by April 15. According to the IRS website, you will not be contacted about qualification unless your request is denied.

Try to estimate your tax liability as closely as possible. According to, if the IRS finds your estimate unreasonable, the extension will be void.

State Extensions

Form 4868 is an extension to file your federal return. Check the requirements in your state if you need additional time to file your state income tax return.


About the Author

Mary E. Cook has a bachelor's degree in communications from Virginia Tech. She has worked as a writer, editor and page designer for several daily newspapers in Virginia and South Carolina for the past 10 years. Her work has appeared in Fodor's, The Sun News and Monthly Magazine publications.

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