Need More Time on Taxes? Learn How to Get an Extension

 ADHD Weekly 2016-04-14

If you haven’t done your income taxes yet, good news—you get three extra days this year. Due to a local holiday in Washington, DC, federal income tax returns can be postmarked as late as April 18. For many people dealing with the symptoms of ADHD―difficulty getting organized, losing paperwork and sustaining attention―the added time could be a benefit this year.

If this year’s filing date still doesn’t give you enough time, you can file for an extension, which will give you more time to complete and send in your paperwork. However, even if you file for an extension, you will need to pay the estimated taxes you owe. The Internal Revenue Service has instructions on its website on how to apply for an extension. If you apply for the extension by April 18, the IRS will automatically extend the deadline for you to file until October 17.

If you don’t file before the due date, you will likely have a failure-to-file penalty, which is normally 5 percent of your unpaid taxes for each month that a tax return is late, but not more than 25 percent of your unpaid taxes. Filing but not paying what you owe in taxes by the due date accrues a penalty of one half of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes for each month after the due date. For more information, visit Eight Facts on Late Filing and Late Payment Penalties.

  • Pay all or part of your estimated taxes due and indicate that you’re paying for an extension using Direct Pay, the electronic federal tax payment system, or by using a credit or debit card. 
  • File Form 4868 electronically by accessing IRS e-file or by using a tax professional who uses e-file.
  • File a paper Form 4868 and enclose payment of your estimate of tax due.

There is no penalty for estimating incorrectly what you owe on your taxes as long as you paid at least 90% of the actual amount you owe. If your actual taxes owed come out more than the estimated payment, you will need to pay interest when filing.

You will need to file a separate extension for your state income taxes. The process to get an extension varies from state to state, so double check with your state government.

For more tips on getting organized, see Organization and Time Management.