About 12 million taxpayers will have requested extensions by the filing deadline, giving them an extra six months to file.
It's Tax Day, but procrastinators shouldn't panic.
The IRS has received almost 100 million tax returns this year and expects to receive about 35 million more by today's filing deadline. However, about 12 million taxpayers will have requested extensions by the filing deadline, giving them an extra six months to file.
The fastest and easiest way to get the extra time is through the Free File link on www.IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868.
Filing this form gives taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file a return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due.
By properly filing this form, a taxpayer will avoid the late-filing penalty, normally 5 percent per month based on the unpaid balance, that applies to returns filed after the deadline. In addition, any payment made with an extension request will reduce or eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after April 15. The interest rate is currently 3 percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.
Besides Free File, taxpayers can choose to request an extension through a paid tax preparer, using tax-preparation software or by filing a paper Form 4868, available on www.IRS.gov. Of the more than 12 million extension forms received by the IRS last year, over 7 million were filed electronically.