As tax season approaches, many Americans find themselves feeling unprepared and overwhelmed by the process of filing their taxes. According to a recent survey, 1 in 4 Americans admit to not feeling ready to file their taxes, and 29% even go as far as procrastinating the task. This lack of preparedness can lead to unnecessary stress and mistakes when it comes to fulfilling tax obligations.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution for those who need more time to gather their documents and file their taxes – filing for a federal tax extension. By filing for an extension, taxpayers can push the deadline back by six months, from April 15 to October 15. This extra time can be crucial for those who need additional time to gather necessary paperwork and ensure that their taxes are filed accurately and on time.

Understanding the Process

It is important to note that filing for an extension does not excuse taxpayers from the obligation to pay any taxes owed. While the extension allows for more time to complete the tax return, any taxes owed must still be paid by the original deadline. To avoid penalties and interest, taxpayers are advised to pay at least the “safe harbor amount,” which is equal to 100% of the previous year’s taxes. For taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 or more, the safe harbor amount is 110% of the previous year’s taxes.

Free Options for Filing

Taxpayers have several options when it comes to filing for a federal tax extension, and many of these options are free of charge. One common method is to complete Form 4868 and mail it to the IRS, but experts recommend opting for digital methods whenever possible. This is due to the fact that mail can be slow and unreliable, leading to potential delays in processing the extension request.

One of the simplest ways to file for a federal tax extension is to select “extension” when making an estimated tax payment for the following year. This process automatically files the extension, eliminating the need for an additional form to be submitted. Taxpayers will receive immediate confirmation after submitting the estimated tax payment, but it is recommended to double-check the transaction in their online IRS account to ensure accuracy.

Filing for a federal tax extension is a valuable tool for taxpayers who need more time to prepare and file their taxes. By taking advantage of this option, individuals can avoid unnecessary stress and penalties while ensuring that their tax obligations are met in a timely and accurate manner.


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