What Does It Mean to Have Your Federal Income Tax Return Extended?


Simply put, having your Federal Income Tax return extended means that you have an additional six months to file. To request an extension, you can mail Form 4868 to the IRS or e-file it. Normally an extension means that the filing deadline is moved from April 15 to October 15.  This year the filing deadline is actually April 18 and the extended deadline is October 17.

Do I Need to Provide the IRS with a “Good” Reason for Filing an Extension?

No. The IRS grants the tax extension for any reason as long as the extension is filed properly by April 18.

There are lots of reasons why you may need to file for an extension. Here are a few of the most common reasons:

  • you are missing some documents, such as W2’s or 1099’s
  • your return is very complex or the volume of data  is so large that more time is required to be sure the return is accurate
  • it will be less expensive to file an extension than to file a return that you know is inaccurate and will have to be amended
  • an unexpected event is preventing you from completing your return

Does Filing an Extension Also Extend the Date Taxes Are Due To Be Paid?

No. The IRS expects you to pay the taxes that are due, if any, when you file for the extension. If you fail to pay the taxes due when you file the extension, the IRS will charge you with penalty and interest when you finally do file.

Generally, the amount that you pay when you file for the extension will be an estimate. The estimate should be very close to what you actual owe or slightly more than you think you actually owe. When you finally do file the return, if you overpaid, you will either receive a refund, or you can apply the overage to the next year. If you underpaid, you will have to pay the short fall, and the IRS will charge you for penalty and interest on that amount.

To learn more about our tax preparation services please visit our Individual Tax Preparation page.