Are you aware the IRS allows individuals who apply a six-month extension to file their federal tax return? If you answered “no,” you’re not alone. Many U.S. citizens do not take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
If you answered “yes,” and you did file for an individual extension for your federal tax return, then you know your deadline for submitting your tax return is fast approaching. The Individual extension deadline for your 2017-18 federal returns is October 15th, 2018. This means you have just under a month to meet with your tax preparer to get your return in order!
Whether you filed for an extension this year, or are considering filing for one next year, here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know about filing for a federal tax extension:
What is a federal tax extension?
If for some reason you cannot file an individual income tax return on time, you can request an additional six months, known as an automatic extension.
This extension allows you until October 15th to file your return without having a late filing penalty imposed. The common misconception is that the extension to file buys you more time to pay the taxes you owe. This is not the case. Regardless of when you file your return, taxes must be paid in full by the filing deadline of April 15th, or a late payment penalty will be imposed.
How do I file a federal tax extension?
An individual can apply for a federal tax extension two ways.
The first is by paying all or part of your estimated income tax due using the IRS’s electronic payment system and indicating that the payment is for an automatic extension. The second way is complete the Form 4868- Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This form is available via the IRS website and can be submitted electronically or by mail.
Regardless of which option you choose, your extension request must be submitted before the filing date of your return or your request will be denied.
What do I do after filing an income tax extension?
After filing your income tax extension, you want to make sure your extension was a) received and b) approved.
If you paid all or part of your estimated income tax via the IRS’s electronic payment system or submitted your completed Form 4868 electronically, you will have received a confirmation number for your records. You should receive correspondence from the IRS whether your application was approved or denied within 48 hours.
If you mailed in your completed Form 4868, you will need to verify that your extension application was received by contacting the IRS. Contact the IRS customer service center via phone and they will be able to tell you if your application was received, and if so, approved or denied.
What does my tax preparer need from me?
There’s many reasons why an individual might need to extend the deadline for filing their tax return: maybe you’re waiting for the return of some 1099 Forms, you know you’ll be out of town during the filing deadline, or maybe you just want to make sure you and your tax preparer have time to thoroughly review your return and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the tax benefits available to you. Whatever the reason, the most important thing you can do is let your tax preparer know as soon as possible about your intent for filing an extension. This will insure your tax professional has enough time in assisting you in filing for your automatic extension and avoiding any possible late penalties. Lastly, when the time comes, supply your tax preparer with the proper documents and income information so your filing can be completed by the October 15, 2018 deadline.
Contact our office today at 818.242.4888 to file your federal return by October 15th, 2018, or fill out a contact form to speak with an Enrolled Agent to discuss your options for filing a federal income tax extension!