WASHINGTON — Are you unable to complete and file your federal individual tax return by the April 18 deadline? If so, you can request an extension of time to file, which will automatically give you until Oct. 17, 2011, to submit your tax return to the Internal Revenue Service.
An extension gives you an additional six months to file your tax return. But keep in mind that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. All outstanding balances are due on April 18, 2011.
The IRS expects to receive approximately 10 million extension requests in 2011, which is about the same as last year.
Numerous Ways to Get an Extension
In order to get an extension, you need to file Form 4868 with the IRS.
Taxpayers can electronically file Form 4868 through IRS Free File or Free File Fillable Forms. Using Free File to prepare and electronically submit Form 4868 is free to everyone, regardless of income.
Paid preparers can also electronically file Form 4868 as can tax software that you run on your computer.
Finally, a paper version of Form 4868 is available for download from IRS.gov. However, the IRS will only provide an acknowledgement of your extension request if you e-file or Free File the request.
When you request an extension, you need to estimate your tax liability and pay any balance due by the April 18 deadline. If you are unable to pay the total balance due, you should pay as much as possible and apply for an installment agreement.