How to See if You’re Approved for a Tax Extension in 5 Easy Steps

Whether you still need to find some documents or just need a bit more time to file your taxes, April 15th, the national tax filing deadline, is fast approaching. What does that mean if you aren’t ready? It’s time to file for a tax extension!

You don’t want to put off filing and wind up being served a late penalty. The IRS failure-to-file penalty is often combined with a failure-to-pay penalty, which equals as much as 5 percent of what you owe.

To spare yourself the stress and burden of paying more than you have to, learn about filing a tax extension so you can grant yourself a little breathing room before submitting your 2018 tax return.

What is a tax extension?

A tax extension grants you an additional six months from the filing deadline. That means the 2018 tax extension deadline is October 15, 2019. If you live overseas, you automatically qualify for a two-month extension, making your deadline June 15, 2019.

5 Ways to Get Approved for a Tax Extension

Follow these steps to learn how to get approved for a tax extension. The process is simple, fast and doesn’t take long. Following these guidelines will ensure you don’t overlook anything and wind up facing unnecessary fees and penalties down the road.

Make sure that you are prepared to file your extension before the April 15th deadline. Many people mistakenly assume that they can file for an extension any time before the October deadline without penalties, but this isn’t the case.

You have to file for your tax extension before the federal deadline in order to avoid any late fees.

1. Check With Your Local Tax Administration

Tax extension rules vary by state. In some, you may have to submit an IRS tax form

2. Fill Out and Submit the Tax Extension Form

You’ll have to submit Form 4868 to the IRS in order to request an extension. You are not automatically granted a six-month extension, and if you skip this step, you’ll be faced with late fees and penalties when you do eventually file.

Make sure that you read this form carefully and estimate your income tax liability as accurately as possible. Just because you are requesting an extension does not mean you won’t owe money to the IRS. You are still obligated to pay what you owe.

In other words, a tax extension grants you additional time to file your return, not to pay the IRS

3. Triple-check Your Personal Information

The primary reason people get their tax extension request rejected is that they accidentally submit incorrect information. Misspellings of names and addresses along with incorrect birth dates and social security numbers will result in a rejection letter.

If you’re filing for a Schedule C tax extension, you will need to provide your personal tax ID number on the request form, not your business’s.

4. Make Sure You Do the Math

A tax extension request must contain an estimate of what you owe as well as how much you’ve already paid through withholding taxes, estimated taxes or other forms of payment. If you do not accurately interpret this amount, you could wind up facing a much larger bill later.

5. Pay What You Can Now

You are obligated to pay on your estimated tax liability when you submit your tax extension, and you will have to report the amount you’re paying toward this bill when you turn in your form.

Even if your tax return isn’t due until October, you still have to pay by the deadline. In order to avoid late fees and penalties, contact the IRS and set up a payment plan now. There are various payment options available to taxpayers, including an agreement that gives you 120 days to pay off your bill in-full without any interest or fees.

How to See if You Are Approved for Tax Extension

You can submit your tax extension form online or by mail, but e-filing is the fastest and safest way to ensure that you won’t somehow miss the deadline. You can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and speak to a representative about your extension’s approval.

If you submit your form online, you should receive a confirmation e-mail within 72 hours informing you that you have been granted an additional six months to file your taxes.

How long does it take to have a tax extension approved?

You should expect to receive your IRS tax extension approval letter no later than 48 hours after submitting Form 4686 online. If you file by traditional mail, the process will take longer, and you also run the risk of missing the deadline and being charged late penalties.