Extensions and Payment Options


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Special Edition Tax Tip 2012-05, April 16, 2012

With the income tax season winding down, the IRS wants to remind taxpayers how to request some extra time to file their return and the options they have to pay their tax bill.

If you need more time to file your return, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS. You must file for an extension by the April 17 deadline. An extension will give you extra time to get your paperwork to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amount not paid by the deadline, plus you may owe penalties. To get an extension:

IRS Free File - Traditional Free File and Free File Fillable Forms can both be used to file an extension for FREE. Access the Free File page at www.irs.gov.

IRS e-file - Use IRS e-file to request an extension by using tax preparation software on your own computer or by going to a tax preparer.

• Form to File - Mail in IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. It must be postmarked by April 17, 2012.

Taxpayers that are ready to file their returns and those that have already filed and need to pay a tax bill have payment options:

• E-file - File electronically and authorize an electronic funds withdrawal via tax preparation software or a tax professional.

• Phone - Pay by phone or online using a credit card.

• Mail - Pay by check or money order made payable to the “United States Treasury.” Be sure to include your name, address, Social Security number listed first on the tax form, daytime telephone number, tax year and form number. Complete and include Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, when mailing your payment to the IRS.

If you owe tax with your federal tax return, but can’t afford to pay it all when you file, the IRS has options to help you keep interest and penalties to a minimum. File your return on time and pay as much as you can with the return, then:

• Request an installment agreement - Use the Online Payment Agreement application at www.irs.gov or by file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request with your return. The IRS charges a user fee to set up your payment agreement.

• Additional time to pay - You may request a short additional time to pay your tax in full using the Online Payment Agreement application on www.irs.gov. Taxpayers who request and are granted an additional 120 days to pay the tax in full generally will pay less in penalties and interest than if the debt were repaid through an installment agreement over a greater period of time. There is no fee for this short extension of time to pay.

• Extension of time to pay - Qualifying individuals may request an extension of time to pay and have late payment penalties waived as part of the IRS Fresh Start initiative. To see if you qualify visit www.irs.gov and get Form 1127, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship.  

More information on filing for an extension and making tax payments can be found at www.irs.gov.

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