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Published:   |   Last Updated: April 10, 2024

Requesting an Extension of Time to File

The tax return filing deadline is almost here.  If you haven’t filed yet, you should file timely to avoid possible penalties and interest. See below for tax return filing help.

Filing Help

For most people, your tax return needs to be filed by April 15.   If you need assistance with filing your tax return you can visit the Filing for Individuals pageOnline tools and resources , or Free tax preparation available for millions of families pages on IRS.gov.

If you haven’t filed yet and you cannot do so by the due date, you can request more time. See below for how to request more time to file. Please be aware – there are consequence to not filing at all.

Special Situations

In some situations, you may have an automatic extension of time to file and pay. This include, but are not limited to:

Requesting an Extension of Time to File

To request more time to file your tax return, individuals can file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This allows you six more months to file. However, if you can file sooner, do it and don’t wait the whole six months. Instead of filing Form 4868, you can apply for an automatic extension by making an electronic payment by the due date of your return. You can pay online or by phone.

See Extension of Time To File Your Tax Return on IRS.gov for more details and for information on filing extension requests for special situations.

An Extension to File Does Not Mean You Can Wait to Pay

The IRS urges people with a filing requirement and a balance due to file by the April deadline even if they cannot pay in full. Taxpayers in this situation should pay what they can and consider a payment plan for the remaining balance. This is because any monies paid after the due date will incur interest  and  penalties (up to the maximum allowed by law) until the balance is fully paid. There are certain instances when some or all of the penalties charged can be waived, but interest isn’t generally waived for any reason other than an IRS delay.

Payment Options

There are several payment options, but you need to review them all and understand the consequences of each before you choose. You can visit our I can’t pay my taxes page for more information on where to start.

Other great resources are IRS provides various payment options for taxpayers who owe but can’t pay in full, and Paying Your Taxes.

Don’t Wait

The worst thing you can do is take no action! Get help for filing, paying, or both from the IRS, a Tax Return Preparer or the Taxpayer Advocate Service, if appropriate.

Other TAS and IRS Resources: