What Is Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return?

Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form for individuals who wish to extend the amount of time they have to file their tax returns.

Any extension granted by the IRS applies only to the paperwork. You must send in the amount you expect to owe by the deadline.

Filing Form 4868 does not allow late payment. All payments must be made by the tax deadline date or interest and penalties will be imposed.

Who Can File Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return?

A U.S. citizen or resident who wants an automatic extension to file a U.S. individual income tax return can file this form. Taxpayers in the country receive a maximum six-month extension. U.S. citizens or residents who are out of the country on the due date are allowed two extra months without Form 4868 to file their returns and pay any amount due without requesting an extension. Filing this form will grant an additional four months to the taxpayer living out of the country. The IRS qualifies those "out of the country" as:

  • Anyone who lives outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico and your main place of work is outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico
  • Anyone in military or naval service on duty outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico

How to File Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

This short form should be completed with the individual or married couple's names, address, Social Security numbers, an estimate of total tax liability for the year, total payments already made, the remaining amount due, and the amount being paid, if any.

The form should be filed by the tax deadline date.

Download Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Click this link to download a copy of Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Key Takeaways

  • Form 4868 is used by U.S. citizens and residents who wish to apply for an extension to file a tax return.
  • Taxpayers in the country receive a maximum six-month extension, while those out of the country receive a four-month extension in addition to the two months they already receive.
  • Filing Form 4868 does not permit late payment of taxes owed. Payments are still due on the tax deadline date and late payments will incur interest and penalties.