Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Form 4868 Automatic Extension for 6 months

The regular due date for filing your 2008 tax return is April 15, 2009. Instead of trying to complete your tax return in a rush, it is better to get an extension. Make sure that your return is error free. The due date to file Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) to get automatic extension is April 15, 2009. If you file Form 4848, your due date is October 15, 2009. You must pay the tax due by the regular due date. If you do not pay the tax due by the regular due date, you will owe interest. You may also be charged penalties.

Individuals Outside the United States If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, and you are outside the U.S. on the regular due date (April 15, 2009), you are allowed an automatic 2-month extension (until June 16, 2009). For this two month's extension, the taxpayer is not required to file Form 4868. The taxpayer may file Form 4868 to get further extension of 4 months.

If you do not pay the tax due by the regular due date of April 15, 2009, interest and penalty is charged until the date the tax is paid. The Form 4868 extends the date to file your tax return to October 15, 2009 but you must still pay all your due taxes on or before the regular due date.

It is possible that the IRS finds some error in the tax return that may result in an additional tax. If this happens after April 15, you will have to pay the due tax amount with interest and penalty. Taxpayers can limit these charges by filing on time and paying sooner.

The current interest rate charged by IRS is 5 percent per year and late payment penalties, normally 0.5 percent (1/2 of 1 percent) per month, apply to any tax paid after the April 15 deadline, taxpayers can limit these charges by paying sooner. For example, a taxpayer who files on May 1, owing $1,000 in tax, would be charged interest plus a $50 penalty. If you can not pay the tax due in full on or before the filing date of April 15, 2009, here is what you should do:

1. Make Partial Payment by April 15, 2009
Make sure to pay what ever maximum you can pay before April 15, 2009. If you are also filing your tax return, make sure to include the payment with your tax return. You will also attach Form 1040-V. If you are applying for extension to file, then send the payment with Form 4868. Various e-pay options offer taxpayers the easiest and fastest way to make a full or partial payment with their return. These options enable taxpayers to make payments either online or by phone using electronic funds withdrawal or a credit card. Alternatively, taxpayers can send the IRS a check made out to “United States Treasury.” If you are not paying the full amount of tax due, make sure to make a short-time payment agreement with IRS or apply for Installment Agreement.

2. Apply for 6-month’s Automatic Extension to File Your Tax Return (Form 4868)
If your tax return is not complete, make sure to file Form 4868 for 6-months extension to file your tax return. Make sure to pay all your tax due or the amount you are in a position to pay with Form 4868. If you apply for extension, then you can file your tax return up to October 15, 2009. You will not pay penalty for not filing your tax return. However, you will still pay interest on the tax due amount.

3. Make a Short-time Payment Arrangement with IRS
Taxpayers who need more time to pay can find out in just a few minutes whether they qualify for a payment agreement with the IRS. Just click on the Online Payment Agreement link and follow the prompts. By entering some basic information about their tax situation, eligible taxpayers can set up in a matter of minutes either a short-term payment extension or a monthly payment plan. A short-term extension gives a taxpayer up to 120 days to pay. No fee is charged, but the late-payment penalty plus interest will apply.

4. Apply for Installment Agreement
A monthly payment plan or installment agreement gives a taxpayer more time to pay. Though interest still applies, the late-payment penalty is cut in half for any month an installment agreement is in effect. This reduced rate of 0.25 percent (1/4 of 1 percent) per month is only available if the tax return was filed on time. A user fee will also be charged if the installment agreement is approved. The fee, normally $105, is reduced to $52, if taxpayers agree to make their monthly payments electronically through electronic funds withdrawal. The fee is $43 for eligible low-and-moderate-income taxpayers. Alternatively, taxpayers can apply for a payment agreement by filling out Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. This form can be filed along with either an electronically filed return or a paper return. If filing on paper, be sure to attach it to the front of the return.

Extra Time to File
Some taxpayers can wait until after April 15 to file a return, pay any taxes due and make IRA contributions for 2009. As a general rule, those eligible get the extra time without having to ask for it. Eligible taxpayers include:
*Members of the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone localities. Normally, the postponement is until at least 180 days after the service member leaves the combat zone.
*Victims of severe flooding in Minnesota and North Dakota have an extra 30 days, until May 15, to file their 2008 individual tax returns and pay any taxes due. Similarly, victims of severe storms and tornadoes in three Oklahoma counties have until May 11 to file and pay.

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