If you aren’t able to file the tax return on time, you have certain relief. You can apply for an automatic 6-month extension for filing the returns which is on Oct 15, 2021 and you won’t need to provide the reason to the IRS.

Personal tax returns must be e-filed or postmarked by May 17 and you might end up paying a late filing penalty of 5% on the amount owed by you if you don’t file on time. This penal amount will be added to the tax balance of each month that you don’t file. Besides the late filing penalty, you will be subjected to fees and interest for not paying your individual taxes by May 17, 2021.

What Form Do I Need To Use To Get An Extension For My Personal Tax Return?

To get an automatic personal tax extension, you need to file Form 4868 -Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return with the IRS. You have the option to file the individual tax extension form 4868 by paper mail or electronically.

If you are filing by paper, you will only get the notification regarding the rejection of the extension from the IRS. But if you are e-filing Form 4868, you will immediately receive a confirmation email when the IRS approves your extension.

For filing your personal tax extension form 4868 you need to provide your SSN (Social Security Number) as well as your spouse’s SSN if you are filing jointly. This information will be used for identifying you and you will be asked to furnish the estimates of the total tax liability in the given year and even the amount of taxes paid already. This will be easily used for determining what you owe till May 17th.

E-filing IRS Form 4868 require the below details:


  • Personal Details such as Full name, Address, & SSN.
  • If you're filing jointly, you'll need the same information for your spouse.
  • Total tax liability & Payment for 2020.
  • Balance due if any.
E-File form 4868 Deadline

What Is The Deadline For Filing An Personal Tax Extension?

For getting a 6-month 1040 extension, you need to file your application before or on the original due date of the tax return (which is May 17, 2021). Now if you are paper filing the personal tax extension, it needs to be postmarked by May 17 and if you are planning to e-file Form 4868, then it must be submitted to the IRS by
May 17, 2021.

A personal tax extension provides you until Oct 15, 2021, to file 2020 income tax return 1040. If you are ready to file your personal taxes, you can file the return any time during the extension period, even before May 17. An individual tax extension form 4868 will provide you a peace of mind and that is why most people opt for an extension each year.

Does An Extension Provide You More Time In Paying Your Individual Tax Dues?

No! By filing Form 4868, you are getting an extension on the time period to file your personal taxes and not an extension to pay your taxes. Now if you fail to make payment for your tax liability on time, you will be charged late payment interest and penalties by the IRS. So, to avoid the late payment penalty, at least 90% of the tax liability must be paid by May 17.

I am a green card holder but staying outside the US. Should I file extension for my personal income tax return?

Yes! If you are a US resident but living outside the United States of America or if you are out of the country on May 17, you will automatically get a two-month extension (which is up to June 15) to file your returns without filing individual tax extension form 4868. But to get an additional four-month extension, you must file Form 4868 by June 15 (i.e. for the calendar year taxpayers).

Should I File A Personal Income Tax Extension For My State?

Generally, it depends on the state where you are living and working. Each state has different regulations and rules regarding personal tax extensions and personal taxes. Certain states like Tennessee and Texas don’t charge individual income taxes (Even though you might still owe taxes on investment income and business).

States like Massachusetts and California levy high business and personal taxes, so a state tax extension can be quite handy. With regard to the tax extension rules, each state is different.

For example, California and Colorado will automatically provide a six-month extension to their taxpayers without any paperwork. Arizona will automatically accept the personal tax extension if taxpayers don’t owe any taxes, however, they need to fill out the state-specific tax form if they owe taxes.

On the other hand, Wisconsin will automatically grant the state tax extension, only if you are filing for a federal extension and that too if you are attaching IRS Form 7004 (business tax extension) or IRS Form 4868 (personal tax extension) with the tax return. Pennsylvania allows residents to submit the individual tax extension request through paper filing whereas Alabama allows its resident taxpayers to file the extension online.

Helpful Resources

What is Form 4868?

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Form 4868 Filing Instructions

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Form 4868 Mailing Address

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