Extensions for Individual Returns
There are several ways to request an automatic extension of time to file your return.
- Electronically file or mail in an IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You’ll receive an acknowledgment or confirmation number for your records.
- If you pay all or part of your estimated tax by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card, your extension will be automatically filed. You’ll receive a confirmation number for your records once the transaction is complete.
U.S. Citizens Abroad
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien abroad, you’re allowed an automatic two month extension of time to file and pay. Penalties and interest are assessed from the two month extension date (generally June 15, not April 15), if you don’t pay in full by that date.
If you qualify, you must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the following applies to you.
You are a U.S. citizen or resident alien AND on the due date of your return:
- You are living outside of the United States and Puerto Rico, and your main place of business or post of duty is outside of the United States and Puerto Rico, OR
- You are in military service on duty outside of the United States and Puerto Rico.
If you still can’t file your return by the end of this two month period, you can get another four months by filing IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The extension does not extend the time to pay any tax due.
Service in a Combat Zone
If you or your spouse served in a combat zone or in a contingency operation (or are hospitalized as a result of an injury received while serving in such an area or operation), please see Extension of Deadlines in IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.
Extensions for Business and other types of Returns
Businesses can also request an automatic extension using IRS Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension to File. The form lists the returns that can apply for automatic extensions. The IRS grants an automatic five month extension to some businesses (such as partnerships and trusts) and a six month extension for many more, including corporations and S corporations.
You can file IRS Form 7004 electronically for most returns. See the IRS Form 7004 instructions for a list of the exceptions.
If you’re self-employed and report your business on a IRS Form 1040 return, you’d follow the extension instructions for individuals (see above).
If you’re involved with a tax-exempt organization and need an extension, see IRS Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return for more information about applying for an automatic three month extension.