Tax Chat: IRS Form 4868

Welcome back to Tax Chat, where we take a break from the busy world around us to relax and talk about IRS Tax Forms. After writing that sentence I realize not everyone will agree that chatting about IRS forms is relaxing – you might have laughed out loud in disbelief – but dearest reader, do not doubt the relaxingness (it is a real word if you believe it is) of Tax Chat. Step one, take a deep breath and then let it out. Relaxed already. See I told you not to doubt the Tax Chat.

Now that you are feeling slightly more at ease, it’s time discuss. I would like to take a quick second in saying, the holiday season was wonderful, insane, and went by way to quickly. I swear, as I get older, time goes by faster. I don’t like it; not one bit. Okay, back to the topic at hand: Form 4868.

Form 4868
Form 4868, like all IRS forms, has a very long official title; The Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Isn’t it just magical? This lenghthy-titled form is simple to complete and provides a huge extension of time to file the following:

   Form 1040                       Form 1040A                       Form 1040EZ                       Form 1040NR
                 Form 1040NR-EZ                  Form 1040-PR                   Form 1040-SS

The great thing about filing an extension, is that you don’t have to provide any explanation as to why you need one. It’s all very hush, hush; no one needs to know why you need an extension. But you will need to properly estimate your 2014 tax liability (if any) and file Form 4868 by the due date of your return. For this particular form the due date is April 15th.

There is one big thing to keep in mind with this form. You are still required to pay any tax due by the due date; the Form 4868 extension does not extend the time to pay.

What is needed to file Form 4868?
You don’t need a lot to file this form. When filling out the form, you will need to enter: your name, address, social security number, and a few other little tid bits. If you are married and filing jointly, you’ll need to enter the same information for your3 spouse. And wouldn’t you know it, the IRS has a nifty little number you can call to make sure the information you enter matches what they have in the their system. The number is 1-800-829-1040.

What happens after you file Form 4868?
After you have completed Form 4868 with and transmitted it to the IRS, you will automatically recieve an additional 6 months to file. This moves your deadline from April 15th all the way to October 15th (it’s a Thursday if you were wondering).

What happens if I don’t file an extension, and just file late?
Oh, you really don’t want to do that. Have you ever filed anything past the deadline with the IRS? Goodness, they hit you with all kinds of penalty fees. I’m going to paraphrase the IRS on this one, their explanation can be a bit confusing. This particular penalty for filing late is generally 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month, or part of the month, it is late. The percentage can be as much as 25% of your unpaid tax. If the return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $135 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is smaller.

It would just make life a lot easier if you file Form 4868 if you know you will need more time. For even more information on ExpressExtension and Form 4868, check out our help videos. If you enjoy this Tax Chat, I know I did, I would recommend reading Tax Chat: Form 7004

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