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What to Do If You Need An Extension

Won’t be ready by the April 18, tax filing deadline? Don’t panic, writes Tom Herman in The Wall Street Journal.

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It’s pretty easy to get an extension, he says. Most taxpayers are eligible for an automatic six-month filing extension from the Internal Revenue Service by completing Form 4868 and sending it in by this year’s longer than usual April 18, deadline. The form is on the IRS website (www.irs.gov), and you won’t need an excuse for the extension.

Getting more time is even simpler if you’re out of the country. You can receive two extra months to file even without asking for it. But waiting to file doesn’t let you off the hook if you owe taxes, warns Herman. Even if you extend your tax filing, you’ll need to pay-up by April 18, or owe interest and possibly some stiff penalties.

Don’t get complacent if you get an extension. As Herman reported earlier, you could miss out on credits or refunds if you don’t file your claim within three years after the date you filed your original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

The IRS reported earlier this year that it had $1.1 billion for nearly 1.1 million people who still hadn’t filed federal income-tax returns for 2007.

Readers, do you plan to get a tax extension? If so, why?


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    • You get $1000 per child. As far as child care costs, it depends how much you spend in child care. I think it needs to be at least 8-10k in a year (not sure on coecrrt number).

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About The Tax Blog

  • The Tax Blog brings together a team of award-winning tax journalists from the Dow Jones network and around the web to examine the tax issues, changes and legislation that affect families, investors and small business owners. Our contributors include Tax Report columnist Laura Saunders (WSJ), Tax Guy columnist Bill Bischoff and senior reporter Jilian Mincer (SmartMoney.com), retirement-focused reporter Anne Tergesen (WSJ), wealth management writer Arden Dale (Dow Jones Newswires), TaxWatch columnist Eva Rosenberg and personal finance reporter Andrea Coombes (MarketWatch), and reporter Alyssa Abkowitz (SmartMoney). They’ll provide the latest news and insight, mine the tax code for tips and loopholes, and answer your questions about tricky tax situations. Contact the The Tax Blog with ideas, suggestions or tax questions at thetaxblog@dowjones.com.