For individuals, filing a tax extension requires submission of Form 4868 to the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Applications must be received by the official tax return date to be considered for an extension.
In the U.S., the federal deadline to submit taxes is April 15. With a tax extension, however, that deadline can be pushed back to October of the following year. To get a tax extension, one must ensure that his or her application for an extension is filed by the time that taxes are due. For people living in the United States, the application must be mailed or submitted by April 15, unless that date falls on a weekend, in order for the person's tax deadline to be postponed. In those cases, the date to submit for that year is April 18 if April 15 falls on a Friday and April 17 if April 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
One a tax extension is approved, the individual has a grace period of six months to pay his or her taxes. Tax extensions can be filed for a variety of reasons, such as personal or family illnesses, changes in marital status, the death of a loved one, job loss and other reasons. What is important for individuals to understand, say authors at TurboTax, is that filing an application for an extension only grants the individual the right to postpone the deadline for current taxes owed. It is not a grace period for previous taxes owed. Any outstanding taxes can still be penalized if they are not paid during the tax extension time.
The application that must be filled out to file for a tax extension is called Form 4868. This form can be filed by mailing it to the proper regional IRS office or can be submitted electronically. In either case, the form requires basic information to be provided. Applicants will have to put their name and address on the form, along with the name of a spouse if they are co-filing a tax return. Other information needed include a current mailing address and a valid Social Security number. The next part of the application involves stating what taxes the individual owes in the current year, and how he or she plans to make payments. Depending on where individuals live, they will mail the completed form to the appropriate state or regional office.
Members of the military and those living abroad follow special steps for completing Form 4868, says the IRS. Citizens who are staged overseas on active duty have a period of 180 days after leaving the military base or station of service to file their taxes using the standard form, regardless of the time of year. Those who are living in an area declared by presidential proclamation to be an official disaster area have an even longer grace period of an additional year to complete their taxes. Although they may receive special tax extensions automatically, members of the military must still submit a tax extension to get an additional grace period to prolong their tax filing. They follow the same procedure of completing a Form 4868 and submitting it, either via mail or electronically, to the appropriate recipient. Tax payments are made via credit card or automatic withdrawal from a bank.