Guide to doing your taxes yourself

Do Your Taxes Later: the IRS Extension Form

Do Your Taxes Later: the IRS Extension Form

We all try and achieve Zen…but like it or not there’s always more to do, places to go, and stuff to get done.  There’s never enough time in the day to finish everything and truly relax the way we’d like to.  And that goes double for taxes.  We always find ourselves doing them or having them done at the last minute, with no time to spare, creating a nice stressful situation every April.  Well for once the IRS is cooperative when it comes to deadlines.  You can file an IRS extension form and give yourself time to breathe.

What’s an IRS Extension?

Well if you file a simple piece of paper by April 15 you get six extra months to file your federal income tax return.  It is actually very simple (so’s the form: IRS form 4868, found here).  The extension form can be filled out in less than a minute if you are a fast writer.  It can be filed by your commercial tax prep software if you’re using that.  In fact, it will take you longer to install the current year’s tax software or to find your login from last year, than it will to actually file IRS extension form 4868!

The IRS extension form gives you exactly six more months to file your taxes.  But beware: if you owe money on your return, it’s still due on April 15.  Then what’s the point, you say?  Well it’s pretty easy to write a check for an estimated amount and send it off with your extension form.  A lot quicker than doing your whole tax return.  As long as you send a good estimated amount with your form, the IRS will be good to you as far as penalties and interest go.

Can the IRS Extension Form be Filed Electronically?

Yes, it can!  You can use your commercial software to submit the extension form, or you can go to the IRS website’s e-file section and file from there.  It’s free and also electronic.  They have a section called Free Fillable Forms which allows taxpayers who make less than $57,000 per year to file basic tax forms for free.  Go here to submit your IRS form 4868 electronically with the IRS.  You just click on the IRS form you’ll be eventually using once you get around to filing your taxes.  You’ll have an option right away to apply for an IRS extension by filling out form 4868 online and submitting electronically.  Very easy. Thank you IRS.