How to file a tax extension, no matter how disorganized you are

It's inevitable: You're fairly sure you're going to have all your tax documentation together, and then something goes awry. You don't receive all your tax forms, you've misplaced a receipt, or you're otherwise unable to file your return by the due date.

If you need more time to prepare your federal tax return, you'll need to file an extension.

To get started, you need the following information:
  1. Your personal details, including your Social Security number, address, and the name and taxpayer ID number of your spouse.
  2. A copy of your 2008 tax return.
  3. A list of tax payments made in 2008.

If your tax situation hasn't changed since last year, you can use your 2008 tax return to estimate your tax liability. You'll find your total tax liability from 2008 on line 60 for the form 1040, line 37 for form 1040A, and line 11 for form 1040EZ. Subtract any payments you've made throughout the year and report your balance due on line 6 of the extension form. Ideally, if you owe a balance, you'll pay at least that much along with your extension to avoid a potential penalty.

To prepare and file the extension for your federal income tax return, you'll need to select a method:

File a paper extension. Most taxpayers are eligible for an automatic 6-month extension of time to file. To get the extension, you must file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return(downloadable here), by April 15. Assuming you file on time, you'll be extended through Oct. 15. A longer extension may be granted if you're living out of the country.

File online
. You can apply for an extension by filing form 4868 online through a software preparation service like TurboTax or by hiring a tax professional who uses e-file. If you want to make a payment with your online filing, you can pay by electronic funds withdrawal or send a check to the IRS. As with a paper return, the extension must be filed before the end of day on April 15.

Pay by credit card
. You can also apply for an extension by paying part or all of your estimate of income tax due by using a credit or debit card. To pay by credit or debit card, call toll-free or visit the Web site of one of the following service providers approved by the IRS:

Link2Gov Corporation
1-888-PAY-1040 (1-888-729-1040)
1-888-658-5465 (Customer Service)
www.PAY1040.com

Official Payments Corporation
1-888-UPAY-TAX (1-888-872-9829)
1-877-754-4413 (Customer Service)
www.officialpayments.com

RBS WorldPay, Inc.
1-888-9-PAY-TAX (1-888-972-9829)
1-877-517-4881 (Customer Service)
www.payUSAtax.com


No matter which option you choose, remember that an extension must be filed in a timely manner. More important, filing an extension extends the time to file but not the time to pay. As with the form, payments should be made by April 15.

If you run into difficulty or need more information, the IRS can help. You can call 1-800-829-1040 for assistance, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time).

Note: This article was originally published on January 20, 2010.

The 10 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

Don't overpay taxes by overlooking these tax deductions. See the 10 most common deductions taxpayers miss on their tax returns so you can keep more money in your pocket.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

How to Find a Good CPA for Your Taxes

Finding a good CPA for your taxes is simple with these seven tips: 1. Ask about their specialization; 2. Verify their identification number, 3. Look up their license, 4. Consider their experience, 5. Confirm their willingness to sign, 6. Ask for advice, and 7. Determine their fees.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Reporting Self-Employment Business Income and Deductions

Self-employed taxpayers report their business income and expenses on Schedule C. TurboTax can help make the job easier.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

2018 Tax Reform Impact: What You Should Know

Congress has passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill went into place on January 1, 2018, which means that it will affect the taxes of most taxpayers for the 2018 tax year.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story
Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.