U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad - Automatic 6 Month Extension of Time to File


If you are not able to file your return by the due date, you generally can get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file (but not of time to pay). To get this automatic extension, you must file a paper Form 4868 or use IRS efile (electronic filing). The form must show your properly estimated tax liability based on the information available to you.

You will not receive any notification from the IRS unless your extension request is denied.

CAUTION! You cannot use the automatic 6-month extension of time to file if:

  • You want the IRS to figure your tax, or
  • You are under a court order to file by the regular due date.

When to File

Generally, you must request the 6-month extension by the regular due date for your return.

Previous 2-Month Extension

If you are unable to file your return within the automatic 2-month extension period, you may be able to get an additional 4-month extension of time to file your return, for a total of 6 months. The 2-month and the 6-month extension periods start at the same time. You must request the additional 4-months by the new due date allowed by the 2-month extension.

Time to Pay Not Extended

A 6-month extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. You must make an accurate estimate of your tax and send any necessary payment with your Form 4868 or pay the tax due electronically. If you find you cannot pay the full amount due with Form 4868, you can still get the extension. You will owe interest on the unpaid amount.

You also may be charged a penalty for paying the tax late unless you have reasonable cause for not paying your tax when due. Interest and penalties are assessed (charged) from the original due date of your return.

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