Personal Finance

Running Late on Your Taxes? Filing an Extension is Easy & Free

| by Internal Revenue Service

WASHINGTON — Taxpayers who need more time to complete their returns
should submit their requests for an automatic extension electronically
by April 15, the Internal Revenue Service urged today.

This year, anyone, regardless of income, can e-file their extensions at no cost from a home computer using IRS traditional FreeFile or FreeFile Fillable Forms.
E-filing a request for an extension using either form of FreeFile is
convenient, safe and secure, and taxpayers receive confirmation to keep
with their records.

The IRS expects to receive 1.9 million extension requests
electronically this year. A total of almost 10 million extension
requests are expected during 2009 compared with 9.5 million extensions
received during 2008.

The extension gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file the tax return.
An extension does not give the taxpayer an extension of time to pay.
Those who owe taxes can make a payment when they file the extension
either by mailing a check or by several electronic payment methods,
such as electronic funds withdrawals from bank accounts and credit card
payments.

Taxpayers can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file their tax returns by filing Form 4868, Automatic Extension of Time to File.

Taxpayers can e-file the extension from a home computer or through a tax professional who uses e-file.

Some taxpayers can wait until after April 15 to file a return, pay
any taxes due and make IRA contributions for 2008. As a general rule,
those eligible get the extra time without having to ask for it.
Eligible taxpayers include:

  • Members of the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other
    combat zone localities. Normally, the postponement is until at least
    180 days after the service member leaves the combat zone.
  • Victims of severe flooding in Minnesota and North Dakota have an
    extra 30 days, until May 15, to file their 2008 individual tax returns
    and pay any taxes due. Similarly, victims of severe storms and
    tornadoes in three Oklahoma counties have until May 11 to file and pay.