How to file for an Tax Extension (automatically accepted, no reason needed)
A 6-month reprieve with Form 4868
The IRS has a simple form that allows you an automatic six-month extension to file your taxes. It's Form 4868 (.pdf file), and it's easy to complete -- even without an accountant.
The form starts by asking for your name, address and Social Security number. It then asks you to estimate your tax liability and send any balance due. If you make this payment and cover at least 90% of your real liability, you win. You won't owe a late filing or late payment penalty.
You can use the IRS' Free File system online, pick up the form at any IRS office or order it toll-free at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). If you're using tax preparation software at home, you can file by computer and receive an acknowledgement by email.
You must file it by the regular due date of your return. It is an automatic extension. You don't have to give the IRS any reason. You can get it even if the only reason you haven't filed is that you were lazy or didn't want to think about it.
Form 4868 gives you until Oct. 15 to complete and send in your return. But, regardless of the form, if you think you owe money to the government, you must send it in by April 18.
You can ask for only one extension. So you really do have to file by Oct. 15.