Speed: 1 minute. Cost: 49 cents (for postage).
You can file an extension using IRS Form 4868.
Download, print, and complete the form. Report your estimated tax liability, any payments you made this tax year, and an estimate of your balance due.
Mail Form 4868 to the IRS mailing address before the post office closes on April 15th. The envelope must be postmarked on or before the deadline in order for your extension to be filed on-time.
Speed: about 5 minutes. Cost: free.
TurboTax has produced a slick and easy to use extension program. Register for the site, input your information, and TurboTax guides you through the steps.
TurboTax allows you to pay your tax using a direct withdrawal from your bank account.
The instructions and steps are clear and easy to understand.
Speed: about 5 minutes. Cost: free.
Create a username, enter your personal information, and choose between filing your extension or first estimating your taxes.
If you want to estimate your taxes, work through the Federal Q&A.
After drafting out your return (or if you choose to skip this step), click on the Filing tab, and look in the navigation options just below the tabs. Click on "File Extension."
(Alternatively, click on Forms & Topics, also in the navigation options just below the tabs, scroll to Form 4868, and click on Add.)
TaxAct gives you the option of printing Form 4868 to mail in or e-filing the form. TaxACT will let you set up a direct withdrawal from your checking or savings account to pay your estimated tax liability.
Here's a quick link to TaxAct's support page on Filing an Extension - Form 4868.
Speed: about 5 minutes not including the payment section. Cost: $29.95 for personal tax extensions; $34.95 for business tax extensions.
FileLater provides an estimate of federal tax based on your wages and other income that assumes you take the standard deduction.
You can schedule a direct withdrawal from a bank account to remit tax payments.
FileLater also supports the filing of extensions for business tax returns for corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts.
FileLater allows you to sign in using Facebook or Twitter in lieu of creating an account.
Speed: about 8 minutes. Cost: free (if you take the standard deduction; $49.99 if you itemize).
The H&R Block Free software requires that the you estimate your federal tax liability and the total of tax payments you've made for the year. If you need help, H&R Block provides a link to their Tax Estimator Calculator.
Speed: about 12 minutes not including the payment section of the process. Cost: $4.95.
After creating your account in eSmart Tax and inputting information, you can file your extension. You can also do a basic calculation of your tax liability and set up a direct payment from a bank account to remit any tax.
Speed: approximately 15 minutes. Cost: free.
Free File Fillable Forms is a free tax filing service sponsored by the IRS and hosted by Intuit, the makers of Turbo Tax.
The biggest issue with this service is that it is not user-friendly, but it does have a user guide.
State extensions are not supported.
8 Fast and Easy Ways to File an IRS Tax Extension
Filing an extension with the IRS will give you an extra 6 months to file your tax return without penalty. If you have a balance due, it does not give you an extra 6 months to pay: you will still need to pay the IRS or you'll be hit with penalties and interest.
Make your estimate of any payment as accurate as you can with the information you have. If the IRS determines that your estimate was not reasonable, it will consider your tax extension null and void.
You can file an extension even if you can't make a full payment. Pay as much as you can to minimize the amount of interest you owe.
The deadline to file your 2018 tax return extension is April 15, 2019. You then have until October 15, 2019 to file the return.
Be sure to file any state extensions too.