If you are unable to file your 2003 tax return by April 15, 2004, you may get an automatic 4 month extension of time by filing Form 4868, Application For Extension of Time To File US Individual Tax Return by April 15, 2004. By filing this form, you can avoid a late filing penalty. However, this extension is only an extension of time to file your return; it does not give you more time to pay the tax you owe. You will be charged interest on any tax owed but not paid by April 15th. You may also be charged a late payment penalty. If you need an extension of time to file, you may be able to avoid paying interest and penalties by estimating how much tax, if any, you'll owe, and including that payment with your Form 4868.
There are three choices for filing Form 4868 electronically. If you file your Form 4868 electronically, you will receive an acknowledgement or confirmation number for your records and you do not send in Form 4868. If you expect to owe money, you may authorize an automatic withdrawal from your bank account using 4868 TeleFile or tax software. You may also mail in your payment.
You can use 4868 TeleFile to file your extension by phone even if you are expecting a refund. You will need last year's tax return during the call. You will be asked to provide two pieces of information from the return for taxpayer verification. For your convenience, you can authorize an automatic withdrawal from your checking or savings account. If you select an automatic withdrawal, the amount you specify will be deducted on April 15, 2004. You will receive a confirmation number at the end of the call for your records.
You can refer to your tax software or tax professional for ways to file electronically using e-file services. Be sure to have a copy of last year's tax return. You will be asked for two pieces of information from the return for taxpayer verification.
You can generally get an extension 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 tax payment. At the completion of the transaction you will receive a confirmation number for your records.
If you owe an additional amount of tax when you file your return, you will be charged interest from April 15th on the unpaid balance. You will also be charged a late payment penalty if the amount you owe is more than 10 percent of your actual tax liability. The deadline to file with an extension is August 16, 2004. You can apply for an additional 2 month extension either in a letter or by filing Form 2688, Application For Additional Time to File US Individual Tax Return by the extended due date of the return. Mail your application early, because this extension is not automatic. You will be notified by the IRS whether your application has or has not been approved. Interest on any unpaid balance is charged from April 16th until the date paid. An extension of more than 6 months will not be granted if you are in the United States.
If your return is completed but you are unable to pay the tax due, do not request an extension. File your return by April 15th and pay as much as you can. The IRS will send you a bill or notice for the balance due. You may also request an installment agreement by completing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. You will be notified if your request has been approved, or if additional information is needed. You will be charged interest and may be charged a late payment penalty on any tax not paid by April 15th, even if your request to pay in installments is granted. If your request is granted, you must also pay a fee of $43.00.
If you are a U.S. citizen, resident or a member of the armed forces, whose home and main place of business or post of duty is outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico on April 15, 2004, you are allowed an automatic extension until June 15, 2004 to file your return and pay any tax due for 2003. However, if you pay the tax due after the due date of the return (without regard to the automatic extension), interest will be charged from the regular due date until the date the tax is paid. If you use this automatic extension, you must attach a statement to your return stating that your home and your main place of business or post of duty are outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico on the due date of your return. For more information, see Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. Publication 54 and Forms 4868, 2688, and 9465 may be ordered by calling 1-800-829-3676.
(Information provided by the Internal Revenue Service)