[-- Read Time: 2 mins --]

Your tax return must be postmarked by April 15th to be considered on time.  If you’re unable to meet the deadline, the best thing to do is request an extension.  This will give you more time to file an accurate return and can possibly minimize penalties.  However, there are some things you need to be aware of before making your decision.

You only have until April 15th to request an extension

Requesting a federal tax extension is fairly easy.  Simply download and complete Form 4868 from the IRS website then mail it in.  It’s highly recommended that you enclose a payment for any taxes due to minimize penalties.  You must submit your request no later than April 15th.  Unlike with your federal taxes, there’s no one size fits all rule when it comes to obtaining a state tax extension.  Some places automatically give you an extra six months to file while others require you to request an extension.  So, check your state government website for more details.

The extended tax deadline is October 15th

Although filing an extension does buy you some extra time, that doesn’t mean you can drag your feet forever.  Your return must be in the IRS’ hands no later than October 15th.  The fastest and easiest way to do your taxes is with ezTaxReturn.com.  Since 1999, they’ve helped millions of taxpayers file with ease.

Filing an extension doesn’t give you extra time to pay your taxes

A popular misconception about tax extensions is that it gives you more time to pay any taxes you owe.  We hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not true.  The IRS still expects their money by April 15th.  Even if you can’t afford to pay the entire bill, at least pay as much as you can by the deadline.  Otherwise, you’ll begin accumulating interest and penalties on your unpaid balance once the clock strikes midnight.  The late payment penalty starts at 0.5% of your taxes each month and can climb up to 25%.  Meanwhile, the interest rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percent, and it compounds daily.

Miss the extended deadline and you may face a late filing penalty

If you requested an extension and miss that deadline too, prepare to be hit with hefty fines.  The late filing penalty is 5% of your unpaid taxes each month, up to a maximum of 25%.  If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $435 or 100% of your unpaid balance, whichever amount is smaller.