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Deadline for Filing Extended Tax Return

Posted by on November 26, 2012
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You can prepare your extended tax return online

If you requested a tax extension, you must file your return by the October deadline.

After this date e-file shuts down and you may be charged late filing penalties.

If you requested an extension during tax season – which you would have done using Form 4868 [Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return] – the deadline for filing your return is typically on or around October 15. It ultimately depends on the tax season.

An extension gives you an extra six months to file, which puts the deadline on or around October 15 depending on the year. Generally the IRS will not extend you any more time, unless you’re living outside the country.

In this case you may be able to request an additional two months, pushing back your deadline to December 15. But in order to receive this discretionary extension you must submit a letter to the IRS explaining why you need the extra two months. Refer to Publication 54 [Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad] for more information.

An extension gives you a six month reprieve from some penalties but not all of them. Here’s a rundown of what you may have to pay in addition to your tax liability:

  • Interest – The funny thing about extensions is that they give you an extra six months to file, but not an extra six months to pay. When you request an extension you are supposed to estimate your tax liability and pay it. If you don’t pay by the original April deadline, you will be charged interest.
  • Late Payment Penalty – In addition to interest you’ll also have to pay a penalty of 0.5% on any money you haven’t paid by the original April deadline for each month or part of a month it’s late.
  • Late Filing Penalty – An extension does get you out of paying this one, at least for six months. But if your return isn’t in by October 15, you will start to rack up the penalty, which amounts to 5% of the amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late.

October 15 was also the last chance to submit your 2011 return electronically. After this date the IRS shuts down its e-file system to prepare for the upcoming tax season. E-filing is far preferable to traditional paper-filing for many reasons.

First of all, it’s convenient. You can take care of everything from your computer – no trips to the post office necessary. Plus it’s faster. Not only does it get to the IRS instantaneously, it gets processed faster once it’s there. And what does that mean for you? It means you get your refund faster too. A win-win.

The moral of the story? Make sure you file your tax return before October 15, but also give yourself enough time to do a quality job. It’s never a good idea to rush through your taxes at the last minute.

Photo via 401(K) 2013 on Flickr. 

5 Responses to “Deadline for Filing Extended Tax Return”

  1. Janice says:

    I just filed my taxes and will be receiving  a refund. How long does it usually take them to process this in off season?


    • admin says:

      Hi Janice,

      Because e-file is shut down it’s probably going to take a little longer to get your refund than if you had filed during the season. The official word from the IRS is that it could take 6-8 weeks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw it a lot sooner than that, perhaps somewhere in the 4-6 week range. Naturally, if you requested that your refund be direct deposited it will take a lot less time than waiting for a paper check. 

  2. Sam says:

    I just filed my taxes & mailed the full payment due in…Always get a refund, but I'm drawing Soc Sec now (started 2011) & I had forgotten about a lump sum pmt I received early 2011, so this is the first year I had to pay…I know I'll be charged penalties, but at what date does the IRS calculate them from?…I filed an extension also…Will my penalties/fees start from April or October?…Thank you…

    • admin says:

      Hi Sam,

      Even when you request a refund, you are technically supposed to estimate and pay your tax liability in April when you file your extension request. So you will have to pay interest and a failure-to-pay penalty on your oustanding tax liability starting from April 17. Then you will also have to pay a failure-to-file penalty starting from October 15, which is when returns that got an extension were due. 

  3. Sam says:

    Ok…Thanks for your help…I've sent the full amount due in, but I'll have to wait until I hear from the IRS on what the penalties & interest are…Just hoping it won't be too much…

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