Extending your filing by three days, or six months

Fran Coet
Posted 4/11/16

Attention, all frantic people desperate for some good tax-return news: You have come to the right place. We are pleased to inform you that you get three extra days to file your return this year, thanks to something called Emancipation Day on the …

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Extending your filing by three days, or six months

Posted

Attention, all frantic people desperate for some good tax-return news: You have come to the right place. We are pleased to inform you that you get three extra days to file your return this year, thanks to something called Emancipation Day on the East Coast.

We wouldn’t want to let tax returns interfere with those emancipation celebrations, after all. So give yourselves until April 18.

Still not enough? Okay, how about an extra six months?

Yes, there is a slight catch to this great news, which extends the deadline to Oct. 15. If you have run out of time to meet this looming April deadline (often due to late-arriving forms such as a K-1 from your oil-and-gas partnership, or a W-2 from a former employer, or simple procrastination), you can request an automatic extension of time to file your 2015 U.S. and Colorado individual income tax returns. To request an extension of time to file, you must file an extension notice by April 18. Bear in mind that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay — and 90 percent of the estimated tax due be paid with the extension.

Here are the three ways to extend your time for filing your federal return:

• The IRS allows you to make direct payment on your estimated income tax via the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS.gov), or a credit or debit card. You will receive a confirmation number for your records. No need to file a form with this option.

• E-file Form 4868 (PDF), “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File.” You can use your personal computer or go through your accountant/tax preparer.

• File a paper Form 4868 and enclose a check/money order for payment of your estimated tax due. In order to file the Form 4868 electronically, you must provide your prior year’s adjusted gross income amount for security purposes. The IRS works with 13 different private companies that help with extensions, and those preferred vendors offer free filing of Form 4868 through the Free File program.

Special rules apply for people who are out of the country for a significant amount of time encompassing the original due date, and for military personnel serving in designated combat zones. For additional information in those cases, IRS offers Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

Similarly, Colorado offers an automatic six-month extension to file your income tax return if you cannot submit your return by the April 18 due date. This means that you can file your return by Oct. 15 without filing this form. However, 90 percent of your tax, again, must be paid by April 18.

If no payment is due, file nothing with the state’s Department of Revenue - the federal extension will support the CDR extension. However, if there is an estimated balance due to the state, use Form DR-158-I to transmit your payment by April 18. Just search online for the form number to get a downloadable copy, and then wait for another day.

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