Form 4868, the tax procrastinator’s best friend

You’ve got until midnight your time to get your 2016 tax return to the Internal Revenue Service, either by hitting “send” on your computer or getting your paper form to a Post Office where it can be postmarked today.

Or, if it becomes clear that you’re just not going to finish that 1040, and the IRS expect around 13 million of us to arrive at that realization sometime today, it’s then time to turn to another IRS form: the 4868.

Form-4868-pencil_195241-425x319

Form 4868, otherwise known as the procrastinating taxpayer’s best friend, will get you six more months to complete your tax return.

And not that I’m a nag or anything and I’m sure you already know this by now, but the IRS-granted extension is only to file your forms, not more time to pay anything you owe.

There are several ways to file get your extension, which gives you until Oct. 16 this year. Here’s a closer look at each.

Use Free File.
At this IRS.gov site you’ll find a dozen tax prep software manufacturers who offer free electronic filing of the extension request. This option to complete and e-file your taxes (or extension) at no cost is available to folks whose adjusted gross income is $64,000 or less.

But there’s the Free Fillable Forms if you made more than that. And one of those free fillable forms is 4868. Here you complete the online extension form along with your bank account info for Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) of your money.

Select another electronic tax option.
Don’t want to mess with Form 4868 at all? No problem.

You can simply make a full or partial payment of your due federal tax bill by using one of the IRS authorized electronic payment options. They are:

we taxes can now choose among several quick and easy electronic payment options, including the following:

  • Direct Pay is a free online tool allows taxpayers to securely pay their taxes directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or preregistration. Taxpayers can schedule payments up to 30 days in advance. Those using the tool will receive instant confirmation when they submit their payment.
  • Credit or debit card tax payments are available online, by phone or with their mobile device through any of the authorized debit and credit card processors. Note, however, that you will pay a fee to the card processor, not the IRS. The IRS has a special Web page with details about and links to IRS-authorized card processors.
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS, is a free payment portal. I’m including this option, which I’ve used for years for tax filing and payments, but technically it’s too late to use EFTPS. You must be enrolled beforehand for EFTPS payments, but check it out for future filings, say making the upcoming June, September and next January estimated tax payments.

When you use one of these e-payment options today, you don’t have to mess with filing Form 4868. Your payment is indication enough to the IRS that you’ll get around to sending it your return forms by the October due date.

Still time to file: Now I’m not telling you to give up already on finishing your tax return. There’s still plenty of time left in April 18 to finish your forms. These 10 last-minute tax filing tips can help. So can the more than 70 Daily Tax Tips.

But I am saying that if you do decide it’s not worth the frantic tax effort today, you have options. Choose one of them and then come back to your tax filing when you’re in a less stressed state of mind.

The IRS and you will be happy that you tackle the forms when you’re really ready to do so — as long as you’ve gotten the official extension!

You also might find these items of interest:

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