I Give Up: How Do I File For An Extension On My Tax Return?

Humans are a procrastinating bunch. Sure, many punctual and responsible people have already filed their federal and state tax returns, especially people who are owed a refund. Not you. You’re missing an important document or are too confused about all of this stuff to stay up doing the e-filing equivalent of running inside the post office door at 11:57 PM. You give up. This post is for you.

The catch is that the extension until August isn’t an extension on paying your taxes. It’s an extension on filing the return and refining the final figure for your adjusted gross income and how much you owe in taxes.

Form 4868 isn’t scary, unless you owe a lot of money. It’s really as close as you can get to doing back-of-the-envelope calculations on an important government form. You can fill it out on paper and drop it in the mailbox (along with a check, if you owe money)

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You can also take care of this without leaving this Web browser: all of the companies that allow you to e-file a basic tax return for free also give you the option to file your extension and make your preliminary payment online. Go to the Free File Alliance listings on the IRS site and simply look for programs that offer “Free Extensions” as an option.