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How to file an extension on your taxes ahead of the deadline

AP

April 18 is fast approaching, but if you still need more time to file your taxes, don’t panic. You can file for an extension — if you do so on or before April 18.

If your extension is submitted properly, the Internal Revenue Service will give you an extra 6 months to file your federal taxes. This means that your taxes will now be due on Oct. 16.

MORE: You may be receiving an IRS collection reminder soon. Here’s what to know

Anyone can file for a tax extension. While you can use a tax professional or a tax-paying service like Turbo Tax to submit your extension request, you can easily submit an extension for free via the IRS website. Simply click here and fill out Form 4868.

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If you live in an area that has recently experienced a disaster, like those in Alabama and Georgia who were hit hard by cataclysmic weather, you are automatically given an extension. In February, the IRS announced that people in disaster-impacted areas like most of Alabama, Georgia and California would have their tax deadline extended to Oct. 16.

Taxpayers who traveled out of state to these disaster areas to help with relief efforts can also receive an extension. If you are or were working as part of government programs or philanthropy programs in these disaster areas, you can also receive a tax deadline. You can call 8866-562-5227 to talk to an IRS agent and learn more.

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If you are a citizen who is living out of the country,  you can expect to have a two-month tax extension without needing to apply for it. This is true for military and naval service members as well. If you live or work outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, you’re automatically given an extension.

However, if you claim this extension, you need to make sure and explain to the IRS why you qualify to do so when you do file your taxes.

“If you use this automatic 2-month extension, you must attach a statement to your return explaining which of the two situations qualify you for the extension,” explains the IRS.

Keep in mind that an extension just gives you more time to file — but IRS doesn’t give you more time to pay your taxes. If you think you’ll owe the IRS money this year, you still need to make payment on your estimated income tax by April 18.

And, after filing your taxes, don’t be surprised if your tax returns are smaller than normal. On average,  the IRS says that Americans can expect to get about $360 less on their returns than they did last year.

About the Author

Bridget Sharkey

Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer/ghostwriter with a background in publicity. As a ghostwriter, she conceives, researches and composes original content for clients in the fields of business, hospitality, lifestyle, technology and relationships. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and children, Maeve and Malcolm. You can reach her at http://bridgetsharkeywrites.com/. More.

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