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If you can’t complete your federal tax return by the deadline, find out how and when to file for an extension with these tips from

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Need more time to file your 2021 tax return?

If you can’t complete your 2021 federal tax return by the April 15, 2021 deadline, you can buy yourself more time.

Just file an extension to push the deadline back six months to October 15, 2021 and avoid IRS late-filing penalties.

There’s a catch, though. The extension only pushes back the due date for the paperwork. If you owe money, you need to estimate the amount, then file your extension and make your payment by April 17, 2018.

How to file an extension

1. EFile your tax extension online in minutes with Tax Extension

File an extension and pay any income tax due by April 15 using our Tax Extension web service. With Tax Extension, you can:

  • Efile your federal extension
  • Make a payment of tax due, right from your checking or savings account
  • Print a PDF copy of the extension you efiled
  • Log into your Easy Extension account to see when your extension has been accepted by the IRS
  • Access the forms you need to file a state extension by mail.

2. Print the IRS extension form, fill it out by hand, and mail it to the IRS

Refer to IRS Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Print the form and instructions. Fill out the form and send it to the IRS address for your state.

If you owe federal taxes, include your payment with your Form 4868 and mail it—postmarked by April 15, 2021. (If you don’t make a payment for the taxes due, you could be liable for penalties and interest, even if you’ve filed for an extension.) Then complete and file your return on or before October 15, 2021.

Need to use a credit card to pay taxes owed?

If you’ve efiled or mailed Form 4868 and need to pay by credit card, you can use one of several IRS approved Electronic Payment Methods. You can pay with your credit card online or by phone. File your complete return by October 15, 2021.


  • If the IRS thinks your estimate of the amount of tax you owe is unreasonable, it may disallow your extension and assess a late-filing penalty.
  • If you underestimate the amount of tax you owe, you’ll have to pay interest on whatever amount you fail to pay by April 15th.
  • If you pay less than 90 percent of the tax you owe, you’ll end up owing a penalty of 0.5 percent of the underpayment every month until you pay the balance. For example, if you pay $600 on April 17, but discover when you complete your return that you really owe $1,000, you will owe 0.5 percent per month on the $400 that is overdue, or about $2 a month, until you pay the balance in full.

If you live outside the United States

If you live outside the United States, you may be able to get an extension by filing IRS Form 2350: Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return if you believe you will qualify for special tax treatment. See IRS Publication 54: Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad to learn if this form might help you.

Do you need to request a state tax extension?

State tax extension guidelines vary. To see detailed information about state extension filing deadlines and mailing addresses, select your state of interest from this state tax authority’s website.

Remember, Tax Extension can help you access the tax forms you need to file your state extension by mail.