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How to file an extension for your taxes

If you’re not going to make the April 15th deadline for filing your taxes, you can file an extension, which will push the due date back to October 15th, 2013. This gives you an extra six months to complete your taxes.

stressed woman with bills

Tax experts recommend filing your taxes by the due date of April 15th 2013, but they understand that individuals sometimes need more time. If this is the case, you can file an extension. An extension lets you extend your deadline to file a tax return by six months (October 15th, 2013), but does not extend your time to pay. If you owe taxes, you need to pay by April 15th, 2013 to avoid penalties and fees. Estimate the amount you’ll owe, file an extension and pay by April 15th. Here’s a simple guide on how to file an extension for your taxes.

Estimate what you’ll owe or get refunded

First, you need to know if you’re going to owe taxes or get a refund. Again, if you owe, you need to pay the estimated amount no later than April 15th, 2013. H&R Block provides a simple tax calculator that estimates if and what you’ll owe. It requires your filing status, age on 12/31/12 and total wages in 2012. It should be noted that this is only an estimate, and that a complete tax preparation tool is required for more accurate information.

For H&R Block’s simple tax calculator, click here >>

File extension by mail

If you wish to file your extension by mail, simply print out the IRS Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, fill it out and mail it to your state’s IRS address.

Remember, if you owe, you must pay what you estimated. Send the form along with your payment postmarked by April 15th, 2013 at the latest.

Did you know? The amount of tax extensions filed will continue to increase over the upcoming years.

E-file your extension

TurboTax makes it extremely simple to file your extension online. File online by April 15th, 2013. If you owe, you can make a payment online via your credit or debit card.

For the TurboTax Easy Extension, click here >>

Why do people file extensions?

The main reasons people need to file an extension for their taxes include not having all the necessary paperwork, having a hard time with a certain question or situation, and procrastinating. Other common reasons to file an extension include:

  • Not wanting to be audited (your chance decreases if you file an extension)
  • It’s easy to file an extension (as seen above)
  • Being too busy with work or other priorities
  • There’s no penalty to file an extension
  • Your accountant is behind
  • You assume you won’t run into any problems

Quick Fact

Most people file their taxes electronically, but more often than not, those who filed for an extension end up mailing their taxes in once they’ve completed them.

More on taxes

Top tax tips for the self-employed
Tax changes in 2013
20 Last-minute tax return tips

Disclaimer: For specific tax questions, always consult a tax professional.

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