is it time for you to file a tax extension?It’s already that time of year when early-bird tax filers have likely cashed in their refunds, and last-minute tax filers are kicking things into overdrive. With Tax Day upon us and tax season coming to a close, we thought it best to talk about how you can file a tax extension. Keep reading to learn how tax extensions work and what you need to do in order to file one.

How do tax extensions work?

Nearly everyone is eligible for tax extensions. By filling out form 4868 or using nearly any online tax preparation service, individuals can request that the IRS give them a six month extension to file their tax return, making their new deadline Oct. 16. This will allow any filers who are still preparing their returns to have a bit of breathing room. Filing an extension is pretty easy, but it must be done by Tax Day, which falls on Tuesday, April 18, otherwise your return will be considered late and you’ll have to pay some fees. Keep in mind that filers who wish to fill out a 4868 will have to mail their extension to the IRS and make sure it’s postmarked by April 18.

What else do I need to know about extensions?

The most important thing to note is that extensions do not defer your tax liability. If you owe taxes, you must pay the IRS on Tax Day or face interest penalties. Most people usually submit their tax payment alongside their extension request, however if your payment will be late, you can work out a payment plan with the IRS (remember that the IRS accepts credit cards).

Finally, you should note that filing a tax extension only applies to extending the due date for your federal taxes. While states do have a process for requesting extensions for state taxes, it tends to differ from state to state. For example, some states automatically grant extensions to filers who do not file by the tax deadline, whereas others have specific forms you must submit to request an extension. You should visit your state’s Franchise Tax Board’s website for more information on extensions.

When should I file a tax extension?

There are no hard and fast rules for knowing when it’s appropriate to file an extension. The IRS doesn’t care about your particular reasons for filing an extension — be it because you were procrastinating or because something delayed relevant tax documentation — so as long as you follow the rules for filing an extension, your request will be granted. With that in mind, if you need more time to file your taxes, there’s absolutely no shame in taking extra time to file. Just make sure that if you can’t pay any due taxes on Tax Day that you work out a payment plan with the IRS to avoid late fees.

If you’re looking for a place to do some last-minute filing or somewhere to file your tax extension, all of the tax preparation services we review allow you to file extensions online.