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Don’t Miss That Oct. 15 Tax Extension Deadline

A tax extension could give you more time to file, but not more time to pay. And if you miss the extended deadline, watch out.
Oct. 7, 2019
Income Taxes, Taxes
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If you got a tax extension back in April, it’s time to put your tax return at the top of your to-do list again.

The tax extension deadline is October 15. A tax extension gives you until then to file your tax return. It’s not an extension of time to pay your taxes — those are still due in April. You file IRS Form 4868 to get a tax extension.

Here’s how it all works.

Does this deadline apply to me?

  • If you filed IRS Form 4868 on or before the April 2019 filing deadline, the tax extension deadline gives you until Oct. 15 — an extra six months — to file your tax return.
  • If you didn’t file IRS Form 4868 on or before the April 2019 tax filing deadline, and you didn’t file your return either, you’d better get on it right away — your taxes are likely very, very late. The IRS can assess interest on your outstanding tax bill, as well as failure-to-file penalties and failure-to-pay penalties.
  • Some people automatically get more time.

>>MORE: How to make a payment to the IRS

What happens if I miss the October tax extension deadline?

  • You’ll owe more interest. A tax extension gives you more time to file your return, not more time to pay.
  • You may owe a higher late-payment penalty. The IRS’ late-payment penalty normally is 0.5% per month of the outstanding tax not paid by the April deadline. The maximum penalty is 25%. You’re supposed to pay at least 90% of your tax liability by the April deadline, but this year you might catch a break on the penalty if you’ve paid at least 80% of your actual tax liability by the April deadline and you pay the rest with your return.
  • You may owe a late-filing penalty. The IRS can also sock you with a late-filing penalty of 5% of the amount due for every month or partial month your tax return is late. The maximum penalty is 25% of the amount due.

>>MORE: You might be able to get out of a first-time IRS penalty

How can I get an extension for my next tax return?

If you already know you’ll need more time to do your taxes in 2019, be sure to file IRS Form 4868 on or before the tax filing deadline, which is April 15.

  • Again, getting an extension does not give you more time to pay taxes you owe — it only gives you more time to file your tax return. When you file for an extension, you can estimate what you owe and send some or all of that with your extension request. If the estimated payment ends up being less than what you actually owe, you’ll likely need to pay interest on the difference. The longer that’s outstanding, the more interest you may rack up.
  • Don’t blow off filing just because you can’t pay the bill. The IRS offers installment plans if you can’t pay your taxes.

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