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How and Why to Get a Tax Filing Extension?

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How and Why to Get a Tax Filing Extension?

If you've waited to file your taxes, you might now be experiencing a feeling of impending doom as the deadline fast approaches. If you're now on the verge of a meltdown because you know you're not going to make the deadline, you can take comfort in two things. First, you're not alone. You and about 19 million other Americans, won't make the deadline this year, according to the IRS. You'll also be happy to know that what they do instead is file for an extension, and you can do it, too. You might not have all the forms you need yet, or maybe you're in the grip of a family emergency. You could have just lost track of the date because you're too busy hustling to earn the income you have to pay taxes on. Whatever the delay, making the tax filing deadline can be a problem some years. But filing for an extension can provide temporary relief. You will still have to file your tax return eventually, but for now, problem solved!

Table of contents

Key takeaways...Read more

What is a tax filing extension?...Read more

How to request tax filing extension?...Read more

How does filing an extension work?...Read more

How do I estimate the taxes I'll owe?...Read more

Key takeaways

  • Filing for an extension is fast and easy
  • The request must be made before the filing deadline
  • An extension doesn't change the time when your taxes are due

What is a tax filing extension?

Alt text: Flyfin image explaining tax filing extension. Extends deadline by 6 months, avoids late-filing fee but not late payment fee. Useful for filing taxes.
A tax file extension is six months after taxes are due that the IRS grants to those who apply so that they have more time to file their annual tax returns. If the annual April deadline falls on the 18th, and you apply for an extension before the deadline, the extension will give you until October 18th to file your taxes. Filing for an extension only changes your due date for filing a return.Your tax liability is still the same, meaning you still have to pay the same amount in income and self-employment taxes as you would have if you filed in April. The big benefit of a later due date is that it allows you to avoid the late filing fee, which is 5% or more of the amount of taxes you haven't paid for every month that your tax return has not been filed. If you're paying estimated taxes, this means you can file Form 1040-ES in October.

How to request tax filing extension?

The IRS isn't exactly known for making things easy, but it takes very little effort to request and receive a tax filing extension. Just follow the right steps and submit your request before the April deadline and you’ll receive an extension.
Alt text: Image with text "FLYFIN - Steps to Receive Tax Filing Extension: Fill out IRS Form 4868 and submit before April 15" for tax filing extension.
Getting an extension is a great solution for a variety of reasons, not just because it can save you from the late filing fee. First of all, it doesn't cost you anything. If you're already worried about not being able to pay your taxes or getting a late filing fee, you're probably wondering, does filing an extension cost money? But filing the IRS Form 4868 is completely free. Receiving the extension is also automatic. You only have to follow the steps to file for a tax return file extension. You don't even need to explain why you're filing late or want an extension. More importantly, if the extension can give you the time you need to get the 1099s or other tax forms you're still waiting for, take it. It's better to have the info you need to accurately calculate your taxes than to estimate and risk the possibility of overpaying. Plus, if you get something wrong, you might have to go back and file a corrected tax return later, which costs money, not to mention time and mental space. Speaking of 1099s, if you're still waiting for clients to send you copies of the forms they're sending to the IRS to report what they have paid you, an extension might be your best option. Maybe you're even ready to file, but you just need one last 1099 from a client. Can you file a 1099 extension? No, but you can request a tax filing extension. Or you can estimate the payment and file your taxes, then file a correct return later. See above for why that's a bad idea. There's also the reality that when you're rushing to meet a deadline, you're much more likely to make mistakes. But if you have the time to carefully examine your records and financial information, you make better decisions on important tax matters – like whether to itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction. With the first option, you'll have the time to thoroughly look at what you can deduct from your taxes so you don't overpay. You can also use a 1099 tax calculator if you want to itemize your business expenses.
Alt text: Flyfin image with text explaining the benefits of filing for a tax return extension. Saves money, avoids late fees, ensures accuracy. Relevant for self-employed, 1099, freelancer, and taxes.

How does filing an extension work?

The best way to submit IRS Form 4868 is electronically and, of course, before the April tax deadline. You can use the IRS' digital Free File system to submit your request electronically, or you can print the form, instead, and fill it out, then send it via snail mail to the IRS address for your state. Just make sure it’s got the right amount of postage and that it's postmarked by the April tax deadline. Something to know about Form 4868 is that when you file it, you have to estimate what you'll end up owing in taxes. Part II of the form includes a section where you'll need to enter what you expect to owe and the income tax bracket you think you'll fall under. Even if you're requesting an extension on filing your taxes, you still have to pay taxes like everyone else, or you'll have to pay a late payment penalty. Also, make sure to check the rules for the state where you're filing your taxes. Each state has its own rules about filing for a tax extension.

How do I estimate the taxes I'll owe?

FlyFin is an A.I.-powered tax service built to find every possible deduction for self-employed individuals, freelancers and small businesses. But it also makes available a variety of tax calculators, engineered for maximum accuracy, to people who work for themselves. In addition, the app provides unlimited access to an expert team of tax CPAs on standby to answer any tax question and help freelancers prepare their tax returns.

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Adjust For Inflations

The IRS has released its yearly inflation adjustment for the 2023 tax year, aimed to give US taxpayers relief from rising inflation.

SALT Deductions

The SALT tax deduction allows freelancers to reduce taxable income by as much as $10,000. Either state and local income taxes or sales can be deducted.

Taxes on tips

Find out how tip money is taxed by the federal government and how you can know exactly what you need to pay.

Is college tuition deductible

Tax-based ways to save money on tuition and other education expenses are available to taxpayers who are students or to their parents. Unfortunately, deducting tuition from your taxes is not one of them.

What’s FlyFin?

FlyFin caters to the tax needs of freelancers, gig workers, independent contractors and sole proprietors. Using a powerful A.I., FlyFin tracks all your business expenses automatically. But anyone can file taxes through FlyFin! Our CPA team files a guaranteed 100% accurate tax return for you – to save you a couple thousand dollars and a ton of time on your taxes. You can download the FlyFin app and have your taxes filed in less than 15 minutes, saving you time and money.
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