Filing an Extension Application for Corporate or Partnership Taxes

Dates and Process for Filing an Extension Application - Form 7004

Tax Deadline - Extension Deadline
Tax Extension Deadline. Li Kim Goh

Considering filing a business tax return extension?

Form 7004 is the form used to file for an automatic extension of time to file your business tax return for a partnership, a multiple member LLC filing as a partnership, a corporation, or s-corporation.

Note that this is an automatic extension, so you don't have to worry about your extension being approved. 

Taxes must be paid by due date 

The IRS says, "Form 7004 does not extend the time for payment of tax." You must pay taxes due (estimated) by your tax return due date, even if you file an extension application.

You will need to estimate as best you can, because under-estimating can subject your business to fines and penalties.

UPDATE: The due date for Partnership tax returns has changed, effective with 2016 tax returns. Partnership tax returns are now due on March 15, 2017. (The old due date was April 15). 

Due Dates for Returns and Extension Applications

Note: Tax return due dates vary by year. If the due date is on a weekend or holiday, the actual due date for that year is on the next business day. 

Extension applications for all business taxes must be filed by the tax return due date and taxes must be paid by the due date, even if an extension application is being filed. The taxes due must be estimated and the balance paid at the time the return is filed.

Corporate tax returns:  Corporation tax returns are due and taxes are payable on the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the company's fiscal (financial) year (effective with 2016 tax returns), on Form 1120.

So, a corporation with a year-end date of December 31 must file and pay taxes by April 15.

S corporation tax returns: S corporations must take a December 31 year-end to coincide with the tax return due date of the owners, so S corporation tax returns are due March 15, filed on Form 1120-S.

Partnership tax returns: Business tax returns for partnerships (including multiple-member LLC tax returns, which are considered as corporations) on Form 1065 are due March 15, beginning with the 2016 tax year.

Automatic Extension Time Limit

Corporations and S corporations have six months from the extension due date to file the tax return. So, a December 31 corporation would have until October 15 to file the appropriate tax return

Partnerships and multiple-member LLC's have six months from the extension due date to file the tax return. So, a partnership would have until September 15 to file the partnership tax return.

How to Complete Form 7004 for Business Tax Return Extensions

Form 7004 is used to file an extension application for corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and multiple-member LLC's filing as partnerships. Form 7004 is a short form, by IRS standards. It only requires you to:

Include the name and address and Tax ID number (usually the employer ID number) for your business

Enter the code for the tax return you are preparing (the codes are listed.

  • Form 1065 for partnerships and multiple member LLCs
  • Form 1120 for corporations
  • Form 1120S for subchapter s-corporations

The form asks if your business qualifies under Regulations section 1.6081-5,. This section related to foreign corporations, domestic corporations that transact business and keep books outside the U.S., or domestic corporations whose principal income comes from U.

S. possessions.

Indicate if this is a short tax year, and check the box for the reason for the short year. 

Show the tentative total tax. This is the amount of tax due for the business for that year. Even though you don't have your return done,  you will need to do some calculations to get this number. 

Show the total payments and any credits applied to your account, and subtract this number from the tentative total tax. 

Finally, show the balance due. You can pay by debit or credit card (use your business account. 

Where to Send Form 7004

The IRS has a chart showing where to file Form 7004, depending on the tax return being filed and the location of your business.

You can also file your business tax return extension application online using your tax return preparation software, or your tax preparer can file online for you.

More information from the IRS about Form 7004 (PDF)