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How to file an extension

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There are three choices for filing Form 4868 (PDF), Application For Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Tax Return; 1) electronically (such as by computer), 2) by paying part of your tax due with a credit card through an outside service provider listed on the form, or 3) by mail. If you file your Form 4868 electronically you will receive an acknowledgement or confirmation number for your records and you do not need to mail in Form 4868. If you need to pay additional taxes, you may do so through the outside service provider or through e-file. If you were or are serving in a combat zone, a qualified hazardous duty area, or in a contingency operation, refer to Topic 301 for more information about extensions.

You can refer to your tax software or tax professional for ways to file electronically using e-file services. If you wish to make a payment using the electronic funds withdrawal option, be sure to have a copy of last year's tax return. You will be asked to provide the Adjusted Gross Income from the return for taxpayer verification.

Besides filing electronically, you can generally get an extension of time to file if you pay part or all of your estimate of income tax due by credit card. You may pay by phone or Internet through one of the service providers listed on Form 4868. Each service provider will charge a convenience fee based on the amount of the tax payment. At the completion of the transaction, you will receive a confirmation number for your records.

In addition to filing Form 4868 electronically, or by paying part of your tax by credit card, you can file Form 4868 by filling out the form and mailing it to the place where you will file your return.

Please be aware that an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay.