Tax Resources
State And Federal

Federal Form 4868 Instructions

There are three ways to request an automatic extension of time to file a U.S. individual income tax return.

  1. You can file Form 4868 and pay all or part of your estimated income tax due. See How To Make a Payment, on page 3.
  2. You can file Form 4868 electronically by accessing IRS e-file using your home computer or by using a tax professional who uses e-file.
  3. You can file a paper Form 4868.

It's Convenient, Safe, and Secure.

IRS e-file is the IRS's electronic filing program. You can get an automatic extension of time to file your tax return by filing Form 4868 electronically. You will receive an electronic acknowledgment once you complete the transaction. Keep it with your records. Do not mail in Form 4868 if you file electronically, unless you are making a payment with a check or money order (see page 3).

Complete Form 4868 to use as a worksheet. If you think you may owe tax when you file your return, you will need to estimate your total tax liability and subtract how much you have already paid (lines 4, 5, and 6 below).

Several companies offer free e-filing of Form 4868 through the Free File program. For more details, go to IRS.gov and click on freefile.

Pay Electronically. You do not need to submit a paper Form 4868 if you file it with a payment using our electronic payment options. Your extension will be automatically processed when you pay part or all of your estimated income tax electronically. You can pay online or by phone (see page 3).

E-file Using Your Personal Computer or Through a Tax Professional. Refer to your tax software package or tax preparer for ways to file electronically. Be sure to have a copy of your 2013 tax return - you will be asked to provide information from the return for taxpayer verification. If you wish to make a payment, you can pay by electronic funds withdrawal or send your check or money order to the address shown in the middle column under Where To File a Paper Form 4868 (see page 4).

File a Paper Form 4868. If you wish to file on paper instead of electronically, fill in the Form 4868 below and mail it to the address shown on page 4.

For information on using a private delivery service, see page 4.

Note. If you are a fiscal year taxpayer, you must file a paper Form 4868.

General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Use Form 4868 to apply for 6 more months (4 if "out of the country" (defined on page 2) and a U.S. citizen or resident) to file Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, or 1040-SS.

Gift and generation- skipping transfer (GST) tax return (Form 709). An extension of time to file your 2014 calendar year income tax return also extends the time to file Form 709 for 2014. However, it does not extend the time to pay any gift and GST tax you may owe for 2014. To make a payment of gift and GST tax, see Form 8892. If you do not pay the amount due by the regular due date for Form 709, you will owe interest and may also be charged penalties. If the donor died during 2014, see the instructions for Forms 709 and 8892.

Qualifying for the Extension

To get the extra time you must:

  1. Properly estimate your 2014 tax liability using the information available to you,
  2. Enter your total tax liability on line 4 of Form 4868, and
  3. File Form 4868 by the regular due date of your return.

CAUTION. Although you are not required to make a payment of the tax you estimate as due, Form 4868 does not extend the time to pay taxes. If you do not pay the amount due by the regular due date, you will owe interest. You may also be charged penalties. For more details, see Interest and Late Payment Penalty on page 2. Any remittance you make with your application for extension will be treated as a payment of tax.

You do not have to explain why you are asking for the extension. We will contact you only if your request is denied.

Do not file Form 4868 if you want the IRS to figure your tax or you are under a court order to file your return by the regular due date.

When To File Form 4868

File Form 4868 by April 15, 2015. Fiscal year taxpayers, file Form 4868 by the original due date of the fiscal year return.

Taxpayers who are out of the country. If, on the regular due date of your return, you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or resident, you are allowed 2 extra months to file your return and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. Interest will still be charged, however, on payments made after the regular due date, without regard to the extension. For a calendar year return, this is June 15, 2015. File this form and be sure to check the box on line 8 if you need an additional 4 months to file your return.

If you are out of the country and a U.S. citizen or resident, you may qualify for special tax treatment if you meet the bona fide residence or physical presence tests. If you do not expect to meet either of those tests by the due date of your return, request an extension to a date after you expect to meet the tests by filing Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return.

You are out of the country if:

  • You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your main place of work is outside the United States and Puerto Rico, or
  • You are in military or naval service on duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

If you qualify as being out of the country, you will still be eligible for the extension even if you are physically present in the United States or Puerto Rico on the regular due date of the return.

For more information on extensions for taxpayers out of the country, see Pub. 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ filers. If you cannot file your return by the due date, you should file Form 4868. You must file Form 4868 by the regular due date of the return.

If you did not receive wages as an employee subject to U.S. income tax withholding, and your return is due June 15, 2015, check the box on line 9.

Total Time Allowed

Generally, we cannot extend the due date of your return for more than 6 months (October 15, 2015, for most calendar year taxpayers). However, there may be an exception if you are living out of the country. See Pub. 54 for more information.

Filing Your Tax Return

You can file your tax return any time before the extension expires. Do not attach a copy of Form 4868 to your return.

Interest

You will owe interest on any tax not paid by the regular due date of your return, even if you qualify for the 2-month extension because

you were out of the country. The interest runs until you pay the tax. Even if you had a good reason for not paying on time, you will still owe interest.

Late Payment Penalty

The late payment penalty is usually ½ of 1% of any tax (other than estimated tax) not paid by April 15, 2015. It is charged for each month or part of a month the tax is unpaid. The maximum penalty is 25%.

The late payment penalty will not be charged if you can show reasonable cause for not paying on time. Attach a statement to your return fully explaining the reason. Do not attach the statement to Form 4868.

You are considered to have reasonable cause for the period covered by this automatic extension if at least 90% of your actual 2014 tax liability is paid before the regular due date of your return through withholding, estimated tax payments, or payments made with Form 4868.

Late Filing Penalty

A late filing penalty is usually charged if your return is filed after the due date (including extensions). The penalty is usually 5% of the amount due for each month or part of a month your return is late. The maximum penalty is 25%. If your return is more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is $135 or the balance of the tax due on your return, whichever is smaller. You might not owe the penalty if you have a reasonable explanation for filing late. Attach a statement to your return fully explaining your reason for filing late. Do not attach the statement to Form 4868.

How To Claim Credit for Payment Made With This Form

When you file your 2014 return, include the amount of any payment you made with Form 4868 on the appropriate line of your tax return.

The instructions for the following line of your tax return will tell you how to report the payment.

  • Form 1040, line 70.
  • Form 1040A, line 46.
  • Form 1040EZ, line 9.
  • Form 1040NR, line 66.
  • Form 1040NR-EZ, line 21.
  • Form 1040-PR, line 11.
  • Form 1040-SS, line 11.

If you and your spouse each filed a separate Form 4868 but later file a joint return for 2014, enter the total paid with both Forms 4868 on the appropriate line of your joint return.

If you and your spouse jointly file Form 4868 but later file separate returns for 2014, you can enter the total amount paid with Form 4868 on either of your separate returns. Or you and your spouse can divide the payment in any agreed amounts.

Specific Instructions

How To Complete Form 4868

Part I - Identification

Enter your name(s) and address. If you plan to file a joint return, include both spouses' names in the order in which they will appear on the return.

If you want correspondence regarding this extension to be sent to you at an address other than your own, enter that address. If you want the correspondence sent to an agent acting for you, include the agent's name (as well as your own) and the agent's address.

If you changed your name after you filed your last return because of marriage, divorce, etc., be sure to report this to the Social Security Administration before filing Form 4868. This prevents delays in processing your extension request.

If you changed your mailing address after you filed your last return, you should use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of the change. Showing a new address on Form 4868 will not update your record. You can get IRS forms by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). You can also download forms at IRS.gov.

If you plan to file a joint return, enter on line 2 the SSN that you will show first on your return. Enter on line 3 the other SSN to be shown on the joint return. If you are filing Form 1040NR as an estate or trust, enter your employer identification number (EIN) instead of an SSN on line 2. In the left margin, next to the EIN, write "estate" or "trust."

IRS individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) for aliens. If you are a nonresident or resident alien and you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an ITIN. Although an ITIN is not required to file Form 4868, you will need one to file your income tax return. For details on how to apply for an ITIN, see Form W-7 and its instructions. If you already have an ITIN, enter it wherever an SSN is requested. If you do not have an ITIN, enter "ITIN TO BE REQUESTED" wherever an SSN is requested.

CAUTION. An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immigration status under U.S. law.

Part II - Individual Income Tax

Rounding off to whole dollars. You can round off cents to whole dollars on Form 4868. If you do round to whole dollars, you must round all amounts. To round, drop amounts under 50 cents and increase amounts from 50 to 99 cents to the next dollar. For example, $1.39 becomes $1 and $2.50 becomes $3. If you have to add two or more amounts to figure the amount to enter on a line, include cents when adding the amounts and round off only the total.

Line 4 - Estimate of Total Tax Liability for 2014

Enter on line 4 the total tax liability you expect to report on your 2014:

  • Form 1040, line 63.
  • Form 1040A, line 39.
  • Form 1040EZ, line 12.
  • Form 1040NR, line 61.
  • Form 1040NR-EZ, line 17.
  • Form 1040-PR, line 6.
  • Form 1040-SS, line 6.

If you expect this amount to be zero, enter -0-.

CAUTION. Make your estimate as accurate as you can with the information you have. If we later find that the estimate was not reasonable, the extension will be null and void.

Line 5 - Estimate of Total Payments for 2014

Enter on line 5 the total payments you expect to report on your 2014:

  • Form 1040, line 74 (excluding line 70).
  • Form 1040A, line 46.
  • Form 1040EZ, line 9.
  • Form 1040NR, line 71 (excluding line 66).
  • Form 1040NR-EZ, line 21.
  • Form 1040-PR, line 11.
  • Form 1040-SS, line 11.

CAUTION. For Forms 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, and 1040-SS, do not include on line 5 the amount you are paying with this Form 4868.

Line 6 - Balance Due

Subtract line 5 from line 4. If line 5 is more than line 4, enter -0-.

Line 7 - Amount You Are Paying

If you find you cannot pay the amount shown on line 6, you can still get the extension. But you should pay as much as you can to limit the amount of interest you will owe. Also, you may be charged the late payment penalty on the unpaid tax from the regular due date of your return. See Late Payment Penalty on page 2.

Line 8 - Out of the Country

If you are out of the country on the regular due date of your return, check the box on line 8. "Out of the country" is defined on page 2.

Line 9 - Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ Filers

If you did not receive wages subject to U.S. income tax withholding, and your return is due June 15, 2015, check the box on line 9.

How To Make a Payment

Making Payments Electronically

You can pay online with a direct transfer from your bank account using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or by debit or credit card. You can also pay by phone using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by debit or credit card. For more information, go to www.irs.gov/payments.

Confirmation number. You will receive a confirmation number when you pay online or by phone. Enter the confirmation number below and keep for your records.

Enter confirmation number here ..................

Note. Do not file a paper Form 4868 if you already submitted it electronically and are not mailing in a payment.

Pay by Check or Money Order

  • When paying by check or money order with Form 4868, use the appropriate address in the middle column under Where To File a Paper Form 4868 on page 4.
  • Make your check or money order payable to the "United States Treasury." Do not send cash.
  • Write your SSN, daytime phone number, and "2014 Form 4868" on your check or money order.
  • Do not staple or attach your payment to Form 4868.

Note. If you e-file Form 4868 and mail a check or money order to the IRS for payment, use a completed paper Form 4868 as a voucher.

Private Delivery Services

You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the "timely mailing as timely filing/paying" rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following.

  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2 Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.
  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

CAUTION. Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box address.

Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice. We ask for the information on this form to carry out the Internal Revenue laws of the United States. We need this information so that our records will reflect your intention to file your individual income tax return within 6 months after the regular due date. If you choose to apply for an automatic extension of time to file, you are required by Internal Revenue Code section 6081 to provide the information requested on this form. Under section 6109, you must disclose your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number. Routine uses of this information include giving it to the Department of Justice for civil and criminal litigation, and to cities, states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. commonwealths and possessions for use in administering their tax laws. We may also disclose this information to other countries under a tax treaty, to federal and state agencies to enforce federal nontax criminal laws, or to federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat terrorism. If you fail to provide this information in a timely manner or provide incomplete or false information, you may be liable for penalties.

You are not required to provide the information requested on a form that is subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act unless the form displays a valid OMB control number. Books or records relating to a form or its instructions must be retained as long as their contents may become material in the administration of any Internal Revenue law. Generally, tax returns and return information are confidential, as required by Internal Revenue Code section 6103.

The average time and expenses required to complete and file this form will vary depending on individual circumstances. For the estimated averages, see the instructions for your income tax return.

If you have suggestions for making this form simpler, we would be happy to hear from you. See the instructions for your income tax return.