Don’t Panic! How to Get an IRS Extension FAST

Wednesday April 12, 2023 – Tax Day is April 18th this year. Don’t let the change in the date get you. Yes, April 15th is usually Tax Day – but the rule is – and this rule goes for preforming most any act for tax purposes – if the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday it is considered timely if filed no later than the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. The term “legal holiday” means any legal holiday in the District of Columbia (and gets more complicated if the new due date falls on an official state holiday). April 15th falls on Saturday this year. And the next Monday April 17th is a legal holiday in DC (Emancipation Day). So, Tuesday April 18th is Tax Day.

Some taxpayers living overseas and disaster victims may have later filing deadlines. Alabama, California and Georgia storm victims now have until May 15 to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

If you won’t be able to file your tax return by April 18th. Consider asking for an extension. An extension will set a new deadline of October 16 (October 15 is a Sunday). To get an extension you simply complete IRS Form 4868. Form 4868 is a single page form with basic information: your name, address and social security number. The form also asks you to estimate how much tax you will owe?

BECAUSE your taxes are still due on April 18th! You don’t get an extension to pay your taxes, just to file the return. VERY IMPORTANT. If you fail to pay by April 18th, you will receive a failure to pay penalty. The Failure to Pay Penalty is 0.5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month the tax remains unpaid. The penalty won’t exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.

Here is something most don’t know. Taxpayers can use the Free File program to file an extension electronically – no matter what your income is. EVERY taxpayer can use free file to file an extension.

By filing an extension, you will avoid the failure to file penalty. That penalty is 5% of unpaid taxes for each month that a filing is late, with the penalty capped at 25% of unpaid taxes.

Oh, and most states don’t require you to file separate state extension forms if you don’t owe any additional taxes. When you file your state return, you only need to attach a copy of your federal extension form. If you owe state tax, you typically must file state tax extension to avoid penalties.

Attorney Steven A. Leahy explains filing extensions on Today’s Tax Talk.

Steven A. Leahy is a tax attorney in Illinois. He was the host of the long-running popular Radio Show “The IRS Radio Hour” heard every Sunday evening on AM 560 The Answer. Attorney Leahy is also the author of the book “Deal With Your IRS Problems Today!” You can get a FREE copy of this important book at Or Call 24/7 (312)664-6649

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