Haven’t filed a tax return? Ask for an extension
Monday, April 18, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — If you’ve waited this long to file your tax return, it may be time to put aside the 1040 and go straight for the 4868. That’s the form you’ll need to request a six-month extension from the Internal Revenue Service if you can’t make tonight’s midnight deadline.
You’re far more likely to make a mistake if you’re rushing to finish a return. Asking for extra time may be the ticket to avoid problems and miss out on deductions.
Almost all taxpayers are entitled to an extension, and the form can be e-filed at no cost. About 10 million individuals are expected to seek extensions, according to H&R Block Inc.
You don’t have to explain why you need the extension.
There is one catch: The additional time is only for filing a return, it’s not for paying any taxes due for 2010. If you expect to owe the government money, you’ll have to make a payment today, or you’ll owe interest and possibly penalties as well.
Credit and debit cards may be used for payments, but you’ll incur an additional charge — up to 2.35 percent for credit payments, or up to 1.9 percent for debit payments. There are no service charges for using an electronic withdrawal from your bank account, which is available using most tax preparation software.
Free electronic versions of form 4868 can be found on the IRS website, www.irs.gov , and most major preparer websites.