Additional Extensions of Time to File a Tax Return

Learn New and Old Extension Procedures

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You can no longer request a "second extension" of time to file your personal income tax return with the Internal Revenue.

Instead, your request for an automatic extension of time to file using Form 4868 will grant you an extra six months to file your taxes.

Under the old extension procedures, you would request an automatic 4-month extension followed by a 2-month second extension. Form 2688, which was used to request the second extension, is obsolete and no longer used.

Americans living in other countries can request additional time -- beyond October 15th -- to file their personal tax returns. The relevant procedure is to file an extension and then file Form 2350. This form is used to request additional time to file Form 1040 if the person needs additional time so they will qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. The IRS explains this special procedure and the circumstances in which is useful.

How Can File for an Extension?

Filing an extension is easy. Before we file for our extension we need to understand what exactly it does and does not do.

An extension is a way to ask the Internal Revenue Service for more time to file a tax return.

The deadline to file your 2016 personal tax return is April 15, 2017.

By filing Form 4868 with the IRS, the IRS will extend your filing deadline by six months. Your new deadline to file a tax return will become October 15, 2017.

However, tax payments for the year 2016 are still due by April 15, 2017. An extension does not provide a person with additional time to pay. The IRS charges interest (and sometimes  penalties) on tax payments made after April 15th.

    Here's How to file:

    1. Create a rough draft of your tax return. This helps to get an idea of whether you might have a refund or might have to pay.
    2. Download the Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF). Fill it out. If you will owe tax, write a check for the approximate amount of money you owe.
    3. Mail the extension form with your check. Your extension must be postmarked on or before April 18th or April 19th deadline. Here's a list of mailing addresses for sending Form 4868 to the IRS. It's a good idea to send the extension form by certified mail with return receipt requested. This provides proof that you mailed your extension and proof that the IRS received the form.
    4. Alternatively, you can file your extension online. Just make sure you e-file your extension before midnight of the deadline day. Since it takes between five to twenty minutes to file the extension online, you should give yourself enough time to finish before midnight.