Tax season is here and it’s unavoidable. Yet that April 15th tax deadline still manages to sneak up on many of us. If you’re thinking you might need to get an extension for filing your tax return, you’re in luck. The IRS is actually on your side. It’s easy to get a tax extension and give yourself extra time to file your tax return.

There are important tax tips to keep in mind, however. You get an automatic six-month extension from the IRS when it comes to filing your taxes, but this doesn’t let you off the hook for everything. We’ll talk about how you can go about properly getting an extension to file your tax return, so that the arrival of April 15th doesn’t give you an ulcer.


1. You Don’t Have to Pay Up Front but You Still Need to File

Even if you can’t pay up front, it’s better to file on time if you’ve actually got your return finished. Don’t wait; just pay what you can afford. The IRS understands that you’re not always expecting to have to pay the taxes that you may end up owing on April 15.

They’ll let you pay as much as you can afford to pay up front, then send you a bill for the remaining amount. If you go to the IRS’ website, you can make an Online Payment Arrangement, which makes it very easy for you to give the government your tax money at a pace that works for you.

A screenshot of the IRS' website, taken on April 02, 2013.

The IRS’ website makes it very easy for you to get an extension for filing your taxes.

2. E-File Your Extension Requests

If you’re reading this, chances are you don’t even need to leave your home to file a for a tax extension. Most e-filing software like TurboTax will guide you through the process of filing for an extension. If you don’t have access to any tax preparation software, you can simply talk to a nearby accountant (or even a friend) who does.

Just remember, never send any personal or financial information through an unsecured WiFi network. If you decide to get an extension online, don’t do apply at your local Starbucks or other public WiFi hotspots. Protect your information from identity thieves.

3. You Can Authorize an Electronic Withdrawal If You Owe Tax Money

A color-corrected photo of a hand holding a yellow smiley face stress ball.

Don’t let tax season stress you out! The IRS will work with you and give you time to both file and pay.

One of the nice things about living in the digital age is that it’s getting easier and easier to take care of paperwork electronically, including forking over those unpaid taxes that you might owe to the IRS!

All you need are the account and routing numbers for your banking or checking account. Once you’ve got this set up, you can authorize the IRS to simply pull the money they need right of your account.

Again, just remember to send this info over a secured internet connection. Make sure your network is protected by a strong password and firewall.

4. Obtain Forms Online or By Phone

You can get the forms you need to request an extension from the Internet, or by calling in a phone order if you’re not planning to electronically file for your extension. Just visit the IRS’ website, or call 1-800-TAX-FORM. It’s going to take about 7 to 15 business days for the IRS to process and ship your request, though, so just be aware of the lag before you choose snail-mail.

5. Your Extension Doesn’t Apply to Payments

Even if you get extra time to file your tax return, you’ve still got to make sure anything you owe is paid by the April 18th deadline. If you don’t have this taken care of by the time the Big Day rolls around, you can be charged penalties. But a tax extension will give you more time to get your paperwork in order and ease the stress of all those forms.

While the Internet makes it easy to file your taxes online, always remember to guard your privacy and take steps to reduce your risk of identity theft.

So what do you think? Will you be requesting an extension this year? Let us know in the comments!


See Also

Tax Season Safety: 5 Quick Tips to Avoid Identity Theft
IRS Accidentally Leaks Thousands of Social Security Numbers to the Public
Scammers Impersonate Virginia Police Chief in IRS Back-Taxes Fraud

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