NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


Income tax return filing deadline: how can I ask for an extension?

If you’re unable to submit your 2021 federal income tax return to the IRS by the deadline, you can apply for an automatic extension.

The IRS is working diligently to process the millions of 2021 tax returns and assuming everything is in order can issue a refund within a matter of weeks.

For most taxpayers in the United States, the deadline to submit a 2021 federal income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is Monday 18 April 2022, otherwise known as today.

At this time of day, posting for your extension is not realistic. You can either file for an extension online, or submit electronically.

IRS urging Americans to file tax return online

In the case of paper returns, the IRS says, “your return is considered filed on time if the envelope is properly addressed, postmarked, and deposited in the mail by the due date.”

US taxpayers who opt to file electronically must get their return in before midnight on deadline day in their time zone.

The IRS is encouraging Americans to file their taxes online, as an e-return is less likely to encounter processing days than a paper return.

Seeking an extension to the tax deadline

If you can’t file your 2021 federal tax return on time, you can apply for an automatic extension until 17 October. However, it’s worth noting that a filing extension isn’t a payment extension, so you need to estimate the tax you owe and pay this in full or in part by the original due date.

If you want to ask for more time to file your taxes, you have a few different options:

1: Mail IRS Form 4868 with tax payment

You can fill in the paper version of Form 4868 and post it to the IRS, enclosing your estimated income tax payment in the form of a check or money order. Make sure the form is postmarked by the regular due date as sending anything on the April 19 is too late.

2. Make electronic payment

Alternatively, you can avoid filling in Form 4868 by paying all or part of your owed tax electronically, and indicating that it is an extension payment. The IRS will automatically be notified of your request for a delayed due date, without the need for the form. There are three e-payment methods: Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or credit or debit card.

3. Submit Form 4868 using Free File and send payment by mail

You also have the option of filing Form 4868 using the IRS’ online Free File platform, and sending your payment by mail. “If you e-file Form 4868 and mail a check or money order to the IRS for payment, use a completed paper Form 4868 as a voucher,” the IRS says. “Please note with your payment that your extension request was originally filed electronically.”

If you can’t pay the taxes you owe, you should file Form 4868 anyway, and look at your options for establishing a payment plan with the IRS.

IRS video explainer on applying for extension:

Exceptions to 18 April IRS deadline

Residents of Maine and Massachusetts have an extra day, until 19 April, because the Patriots’ Day holiday is celebrated on 18 April in the two states.

US taxpayers living and working abroad have more time to file, too: their 2021 federal tax return must be in by 15 June.

The IRS has also established a later deadline for victims of the recent wildfires in Colorado, and the storms, flooding and landslides in Puerto Rico. They now have until 16 May and 15 June, respectively.

Why is the tax deadline later than normal this year?

The IRS tends to set the deadline for filing your federal income tax return on 15 April. This year, however, the due date is slightly later than usual because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia.

The holiday, which celebrates the abolition of slavery, is normally on 16 April, but this year was moved back to the 15th - the nearest working day - as the 16th fell on the weekend.

Although Emancipation Day is not a nationwide holiday, the IRS explained in a statement in January: “By law, Washington, D.C., holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way federal holidays do.”


To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?