Most American taxpayers know that their tax returns must be filed by April 15th each year. There are occasional exceptions when the deadline for filing your tax return falls on a day other than the 15th, with 2011 being one such exception. This year, filers will have until April 18th to file their tax return without being penalized. Despite having three additional days to file, may taxpayers will simply not be ready in time. There are options for filers who know they will not have their taxes ready by the deadline. By requesting an extension, these filers can extend the deadline to October 17th, 2011. Consider the following if you are thinking about filing an extension.
Due Date For Tax Liabilities Is Not Extended
One of the reasons taxpayers do not file taxes or fail to file on time is when a tax liability is owed. Some individuals believe if they do not file, they can somehow evade the tax man. As many well know figures in the past can attest, this is not a scenario which ends well for the taxpayer. Other filers may not be attempting to avoid paying taxes, but simply do not have the money available by the April 18th deadline. Understand this, by filing a request for an extension, you are not extending the date in which tax liabilities are owed. Any tax bill owed to the IRS will be due by midnight on April 18th, regardless of whether or not your tax return is filed or an extension requested. This is an important factor to consider as some taxpayers mistakenly request an extension to file believing this will stop penalties and interest from being applied to a tax liability. If this is the only reason you are requesting an extension, you may want to reconsider and focus your attention on how you can pay your tax liability.
How To Request An Extension
Filers who still wish to request an extension can do so easily by filling out Form 4868. This form “Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return” provides detailed information about how you can request an extension as well as instructions for taxpayers who are out of the country at the time of the deadline. Basically, you can download Form 4868 to your computer, print it, fill it out and mail into the IRS by midnight April 18th, 2011. If you owe the IRS, you can include a check for full or partial payment at this time as well. In addition to mailing the request, filers may also request an extension online. There are several tax preparation software systems which can be used to request an extension. Depending on which software you use, you may be charged a fee to file your request online. Carefully read the directions to determine what if any charges would be applied to file online before submitting the request. Regardless of what method you choose to request the extension, make sure the extension is filed or mailed before the deadline to avoid getting hit with a failure to file penalty (if taxes are owed).
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