Not ready to file your taxes? Here’s how to get an extension

(NEXSTAR) — There are only a few days left to gather your paperwork, calm your nerves, and hope for a good tax refund — but if you already know you’re likely to miss the deadline, here’s how to get an extension.

The last day to file for most people in 2022 is April 18, but the Internal Revenue Service has a tax deadline extension for those who need a few extra months.

If you plan to extend your filing date, you can get an automatic six-month extension using the IRS. Form 4868make sure you do this before the April tax deadline to avoid late penalties.

Your new deadline will be October 17, 2022, but the IRS may make an exception and push it even further for taxpayers living outside the country.

You can get a tax extension, but should you?

Filing for an extension can now be done easily online – you can use the IRS direct paymentthe federal tax electronic payment system, or pay with a credit, debit card or digital wallet — but there are some things to keep in mind before pausing your 2021 tax return.

A key consideration is that the extension is for paperwork, not payment. You will therefore still have to estimate your tax payable and pay before April 18, using the same form.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking an extension that they must pay on time, even if they cannot give the full amount to reduce potential penalties.

While the late filing penalty is typically 5% per month, the late payment penalty is typically 0.5% per month. According to the IRS, interest on late payments, currently four percent per year, is compounded daily. The IRS says it will work with those unable to make full payments, and most people can set up a payment plan.

It’s also worth noting that you may already be able to file later in the year, depending on your situation.

There is an automatic two-month extension for citizens and resident aliens who work and live outside the United States or Puerto Rico. Although they have until June 15 to file, they still have to make their tax payments by April 18.

Service members living outside the United States and Puerto Rico receive the same filing extension, and people serving in combat zones have up to 180 days after leaving the combat zone to file returns and pay all taxes due.

Finally, if President Biden were to make a disaster area declaration, the IRS can postpone taxpayer deadlines for residents and businesses.

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