If you aren’t sure you’ll make the upcoming April 15 deadline to file your 2018 taxes, there’s an easy way for you to get an extension on the paperwork. This means you’ll have a few extra months to get your tax returns prepared, whether you do them yourself or hire a tax professional.

April taxesFill out Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You can have a six-month extension, and you don’t have to tell the IRS why you need extra time. The form requires you to estimate your tax liability for 2018.

If you choose not to pay your estimated tax due before the April 15, 2018 due date, you’ll still have to pay penalties and interest on the actual amount due. So, this form only offers extra time to file the paperwork for your yearly taxes. It does not get you extra time to pay the taxes you owe for 2018.

Late payment penalty for paying your taxes after April 15

The IRS charges .5% of the taxes due for every month you are past due, with a maximum of 25% of the total taxes due.

Failure to file penalty

If you miss the April 15 deadline and you don’t file an extension, the IRS will charge 5% of the unpaid tax as a penalty for each month until you file, up to five months.

If you file more than 60 days past the deadline or extended deadline, there’s a minimum penalty of $210 or the entire tax return, whichever is smaller.

Installment agreement

If you need more time to pay your taxes, check out the IRS option for an installment agreement. If you owe a total of less than $50,000 to the federal government for unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest you may be eligible for a long-term repayment plan.

You can find out more by visiting the IRS website.

If you owe taxes, are having problems with your tax paperwork, or are behind on your taxes, it’s a good idea to get help from a professional tax service who understands the newest set of tax laws. Tax problems can grow over time, so it’s important to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible. The IRS has many options for repayment.

Taxes can be overwhelming. That's why we've created the Sunset Finance Guide to Tax Returns to provide more information.

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