How to File a Business Tax Extension Online

Multiple Options for Filing a Business Tax Extension

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The tax deadline is looming and you're not ready to file yet. You may have to track down some straggling financial records, or maybe some other complication has cropped up to make it impossible to file your business return on time. Not to worry -- the Internal Revenue Service has forms for that. You can ask for a business tax extension online. 

Business Income Tax Extension Filing Forms

Businesses may file requests for tax extensions using either Form 4868 or Form 7004, depending on the type of business.

  • Businesses filing income taxes on Schedule C should use Form 4858. This typically includes sole proprietors and single-member limited liability companies where profits from your business are included in your personal income. You submit Schedule C with your Form 1040.
  • Corporations and partnerships use Form 7004.

You can print out either form from the IRS website, and they come complete with instructions. Mail it in as many days as possible before the tax deadline, or you can go online and file the appropriate form a much easier way.

Use a Software Application

All the major tax software applications allow you to file an extension using either Form 4858 or Form 7004. When you log on to prepare your return, there should be a tab or option for filing an extension. There may not even be a charge, although you'll eventually have to pay to prepare the return itself. You can use either the personal or home business version of the product to file Form 4868, or use the business version to file Form 7004.

You can do this immediately, then go back days or weeks later to complete your tax return.

The business tax software apps that offer these forms include:

  • H & R Block: Includes information and free tax return extension filing 
  • TurboTax Easy Extension: Use Easy Extension for Form 4868 or the business tax software version for Form 7004.
  • TaxACT: Use the correct business version for your type of business for Form 7004

E-Filing Extensions

You can also use IRS "Free File" which allows you to both file an extension and request payment options online. Here's what the IRS says about using this option: 

Tax-filing extensions are available to taxpayers who need more time to finish their returns. Remember, this is an extension of time to file; not an extension of time to pay. However, taxpayers who are having trouble paying what they owe may qualify for payment plans and other relief.

In other words, as long as you do something by the tax deadline, the IRS won't be alarmed. Definitely request an extension if you're not prepared to file your actual return on time. The late filing penalty can be more expensive than penalties and interest associated with paying late. So get your extension request in, then address the nuts and bolts of preparing your return and figuring out what you owe. 

NOTE: Tax laws, rules and forms can change periodically. Please consult with the IRS website or a tax professional for the most up-to-date advice. The information contained in this article is not intended as tax advice and it is not a substitute for tax advice.