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How to file for a tax extension

How to file for a tax extension


If you simply don’t have time to deal with taxes by the April 18th deadline, it’s not difficult to get a reprieve.

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Samar Haddad / The Verge

When it comes to filing and paying your federal and state taxes for 2022, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you have until Tuesday, April 18th, to file — April 15th is a Saturday, while the following Monday is Emancipation Day, which is an official holiday in Washington, DC. 

The bad news is: you still have to file.

If you won’t be able to file your taxes by then — because of a family emergency, a large work project, or simple procrastination — what do you do? Well, one thing you don’t do is panic. You can file for an extension, and it won’t take long.

If you’re an individual (and let’s assume you are), you can file for an extension easily online by filling out Form 4868 using the IRS’s Free File program. (Filing an extension is free no matter what your income level is.) Some things to keep in mind:

  • Once you file an extension, you will have until October 15th to file.
  • You will still have to approximate how much you owe the government and pay the amount due.
  • If you know you will owe taxes and decide to pay them all or in part through Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit card, debit card, or digital wallet, you can indicate that the payment is for an extension, and you won’t have to file a separate form.
  • If you’d rather mail a hard copy form, you can find a PDF to print out here. You’re on time as long as it is postmarked by April 18th.

Good luck!

Update January 24th, 2023, 4:12PM ET: This article was originally published on July 14th, 2020, and has been updated to change dates and other information for tax year 2022.