Extension options

The IRS has announced that the tax filing and payment deadline of July 15 will not be postponed.  However, the IRS has easy ways to help taxpayers who need more time or payment options.

Due to COVID-19, the original filing deadline and tax payment due date for 2019 was postponed from April 15 to July 15.

An IRS extension is automatically available for anyone who is not prepared to file their tax return by the July 15 deadline.

Individual taxpayers unable to meet the July 15 due date can request an automatic extension of time to file until Oct.  15.

The extension provides additional time to file the tax return, but it is not an extension to pay any taxes due.

The IRS urges people who owe taxes, even if they are filing extension, to carefully review their situation and pay what they can by July 15 to avoid penalties and interest.

“The IRS understands that those affected by the coronavirus may not be able to pay their balances in full by July 15, but we have many payment options to help taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.  “These easy-to-use payment options are available on IRS.gov, and most can be done automatically without reaching out to an IRS representative.”

Individuals have several ways to file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S.  Individual Income Tax Return, by the July 15 deadline.  Form 4868 can be printed at the IRS website.  The form is very easy to complete.  It’s a good idea to send the extension by certified mail in case it is lost in the mail or by the IRS.

Tax software providers have an electronic version available for extensions.  Additionally, everyone, regardless of income, can use IRS Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension.

Taxpayers can also get an extension by paying all or part of their tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or a credit or debit card.  When getting an extension by making a payment, taxpayers do not have to file a separate extension form and will receive a confirmation number for their records.

Many taxpayers believe that filing an extension will upset the IRS or increase their chances of getting audited.  This simply isn’t true.  The IRS doesn’t care if you file an extension.  There was a time when filing an extension reduced the chances of being audited, but this is no longer the case.

David Zubler is a tax accountant and Enrolled Agent representing clients before the IRS with over 25 years of tax experience. He is the author of four tax books and is the founder and president of Your Tax Care. The company provides business and tax education to the public at its website, YourTaxCare.com. David can also be contacted by email at david@yourtaxcare.com.