How Is a Federal Individual Income Tax Extension Filed?


Quick Answer

A federal individual income tax extension can be filed through IRS Form 4868, also known as the Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The form requesting the extension must be submitted by April 15 of the year following the tax period or by the designated due date following a non-calendar fiscal year. An on-time submission of IRS Form 4868 grants a 6-month extension of time to file the full income tax form, which is usually IRS Form 1040 for an individual taxpayer.

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Full Answer

The 6-month tax-filing extension does not grant the filer an extension of time to pay the taxes owed. If, for example, no payment is included when IRS Form 4868 is submitted on time for an April 15 due date, the full amount of tax due will need to be paid on October 15 when the completed IRS Form 1040 is filed. That payment will be also subject to 6 months of accrued interest. The 6-month filing extension that can be obtained through IRS Form 4868 will waive the late-filing penalty fee, but it will not remove the interest accrued on a payment made 6 months after the original filing due date. There may also be a late payment penalty. For the tax year ending December 31, 2013, the late-payment interest rate was 3 percent and the late-payment penalty was 0.5 percent.

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in combat zones or somewhere qualified as a hazardous duty area are usually granted an automatic filing extension. This is often an additional 180 days from the time they return from the combat zone or hazardous duty area.

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