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Tax deadline: How to request a time extension to file your taxes

If you’re unable to submit your 2022 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 2022 federal income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is Tuesday 18 April 2023.

You can either file for an extension online, or submit electronically. There are a number of areas in the US where extensions do not need to be applied for due to environmental disasters. These are found on the IRS.

IRS urging Americans to file tax returns 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.”

You can either file for an extension online, or submit electronically. There are a number of areas in the US where extensions do not need to be applied for.

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

Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use IRS Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension.

Filing this form normally gives you until 15 October to file a return. But note that this year, the date is 16 October as the 15th falls on a Sunday. 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:


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