How to File an Extension and Other Last Minute Tax Filing Tips

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1040Calling all procrastinators! The IRS has some advice for you if you haven’t filed your taxes yet this year.

We’re just days away from the looming April 15 tax deadline. But that doesn’t mean there’s not still plenty of time to get those taxes in on time to avoid penalties.

The first thing you may be asking is how to go about filing an extension. Remember, an extension to file is not an extension to pay, according to the IRS. Rather, the agency expects you to estimate how much you’ll owe and pay that now.

The Internal Revenue Service says you can get an automatic six-month extension easily by e-filing your request– for free– using IRS Free File.

“You may also file using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” the agency says. “Make sure to e-file or mail the form and pay an estimate of any tax due by April 15. You can get the form at IRS.gov/forms anytime.”

Here are some other tips courtesy of the IRS:
 
Don’t delay (any longer). Don’t wait until the last minute to do your taxes. The old saying is true: haste makes waste. If you rush to beat the deadline, you may miss out on tax savings or make a mistake. An error will likely delay your refund and often causes the IRS to send you a letter.
 
Use IRS Free File. If you made $60,000 or less, you can use free, brand-name tax software to do your taxes and e-file for free. If you made more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms. With that program you e-file for free with the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Get started now at IRS.gov/freefile. Free File can help also with the new health care law tax provisions.
 
Try IRS e-file. No matter who does your taxes, you should file them using IRS e-file. It’s the safe, easy and accurate way to file your tax return. You’re 20 times less likely to make a mistake when you e-file compared to filing a paper return. That’s because the tax software catches and corrects common paper filing errors. It also will alert you to tax credits and deductions you may otherwise miss.
 
Visit IRS.gov. Go online for tax information and resources. The Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Trails and IRS Tax Map can help answer questions you may need answered to complete your return.
 
File on time. If you owe taxes but can’t pay by April 15, you should still file on time and pay as much as you can. This will minimize penalties and interest charges. If you can’t pay all the tax you owe, you may apply for an installment agreement. The easy way to apply is to use the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You can also apply by mail using IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request.