If you do not have all the information to properly file your tax return, then filing Form 4868 through online e-file is the best way to get an extension for the deadline of your tax return. However, remember that this extension does not extend the payment deadline for your taxes due; it only gives you an extension for filing your tax return.
Reasons to File for an Extension
Besides just simple procrastination, there are a number of reasons that an individual would file Form 4868 online for an extension. The first and foremost reason is that you do not have all the information to complete your return. Whether you are waiting for business documents or mortgage paperwork to go through, these are common situations that may require you to file for an extension. You can request an online extension by April 15th and get up to 6 extra months to file, moving your filing deadline to October 15th.
If you are “out of the country” and a U.S. citizen or resident, you may automatically qualify for a 2-month extension. Note that your taxes are still due by the original deadline. You can also apply for an additional 4-month extension using Form 4868. Check the appropriate box on Form 4868 and you will receive the additional 4 months, giving you a tax extension of 6 months total.
Taxpayers who are stationed overseas and serving in the U.S. military or navy are also considered to be “out of the country” and are allowed an automatic 2-month extension. In these cases, you can also e-file Form 4868 to receive the additional 4-month extension.
How to File Online
The simplest way to apply for a tax extension is to file Form 4868 online and make a payment for (all or part of) your tax due. While you will be subject in penalties and interest for any tax that isn’t paid on time, you can avoid late filing fees by getting a tax extension. If you pay all of your tax due by April 15th, your payment will automatically extend your filing deadline by 6 months.
To make a payment online, you can use IRS Direct Pay (to make a direct bank transfer), the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or pay with your debit or credit card via approved vendors. You can also make a payment by phone using EFTPS, a debit card, or a credit card.
If you prefer to fill out Form 4868 and submit it without paying any taxes, you can do so online by accessing e-file on the IRS website using your own laptop, computer, or tablet with Internet service. Most professional tax preparers also provide this service if you do not have access to a computer or the Internet.
Lastly, there are a number of third-party software options that offer e-file as a free option with their service. Simply buy or download the free software and look for the tax extension option (or Form 4868). You will then need to fill out Form 4868 and submit it online. When using e-file software, always make sure you get an official email confirmation or other electronic confirmation proving that you have filed the form. Keep this as part of your tax records to show you filed and received a tax extension.
Now you can file Form 4868 online and receive the six months extension easily.