How Do You File an IRS Tax Extension?

Individuals can file an IRS tax extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, according to This form can be e-filed, or it can be submitted via mail. Taxpayers must file the extension form by the due date for tax filing.

Under certain circumstances, special rules may apply. These include a taxpayer living outside of the United States, being out of the country when the six-month extension expires, or serving in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous duty area.

Taxpayers are typically granted an automatic six-month extension once the Form 4868 is filed, but taxpayers who owe taxes are charged interest from the regular due date until the date that the taxes are paid. Taxpayers who are under a court order to file by the regular tax due date or those who want the IRS to figure their taxes owed are not eligible for the six-month extension.

Those who are unable to file their taxes within the six-month time period can request an additional extension if certain circumstances are met. This includes meeting the requirements of a bona fide residence test or a physical presence test. This extension requires Form 2350 be submitted.