Running behind on taxes? Here’s how to file for an extension

Simone Jasper
McClatchy Washington Bureau (TNS)

The federal tax deadline is nearing, but there’s still time to file for an extension if you’re running behind.

The IRS is giving taxpayers until April 18 to request extensions, which allow you to file your 2021 returns a few months late. Here’s what to know about this year’s deadlines and how to ask for more time.

When are the tax deadlines?

While the traditional federal tax deadline is April 15, people in the United States have more time to file this year.

The IRS pushed the national deadline to April 18 to avoid the Emancipation Day holiday. Similarly in Massachusetts and Maine, the due date is April 19 because Patriots’ Day falls on the 18th in those states, McClatchy News reported.

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For those who want even more time to file, April 18 is also the last day that tax extension forms will be accepted.

Those who request 2021 extensions will have until October 17 to file their returns. That date has also been adjusted from the usual October 15 deadline, which falls on a Saturday this year, the IRS said on its website.

How do you request an extension?

People wanting an extension from the IRS can fill out Form 4868 online or with their tax preparer. The form can be found at irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4868.pdf.

“You don’t have to explain why you’re asking for the extension,” officials said in the form’s instructions. “We’ll contact you only if your request is denied.”

The form asks you to estimate your total tax liability as well as your 2021 tax payments and any balance due.

The next step will be to pay electronically if you do owe more, as most payments still have an April 18 deadline regardless of the extension request to file.

“You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties,” the IRS said on its website.

Some people, including “disaster victims” and people who live abroad, could have extra time to pay their taxes. The federal government also offers payment plans for taxpayers who qualify.

When it comes time to file, “your return is considered filed on time if the envelope is properly addressed, postmarked, and deposited in the mail by the due date.”