If you haven’t filed your 2018 federal income tax return and don’t think you’ll make the Monday, April 15, 2019 deadline, you have options. But, you’ll need to act quickly.
Estimate your tax liability
Your first course of action is to estimate your total tax liability for 2018. You can use a tax liability calculator to walk you through the process.
If you owe taxes to the IRS, pay most of the balance or the entire amount. If you don’t file or pay all the taxes reported on your return by the April 15 deadline, the IRS will charge penalties. Penalties and interest are calculated differently based on the situation, but they do stop accruing as soon as your balance is paid in full.
File an extension
Next, file an extension request – Form 4868 – by April 15. This will give you a six month filing extension and extends the deadline to file a gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax return. Your new deadline to file your 2018 tax return will be October 15, 2019.
The IRS automatically gives you a two month extension to file your return and pay any owed taxes if – on April 15 – you are living outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico, your main place of business is outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and if you are in active military or naval service outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
However, you will have to pay interest on any tax that isn’t paid by April 15, even if you are given an extension.
How to file an extension
You can file the extension request through your tax professional, online, by phone, or by mailing it to the IRS. If you owe taxes to the IRS, you can pay with an electronic funds transfer, your credit card, or a check.
Keep in mind – if you never file a return, you lose your refund within three years. If you never file your return AND you owe taxes, the IRS will mail you a letter and notify you of your outstanding tax liability.
Have questions about filing an extension? Let’s talk!