How to File a Personal Tax Extension in the US in 8 Easy Steps?

How to File a Personal Tax Extension in the US in 8 Easy Steps?

Do you need to travel outside the US this April? Are you short on time to file your federal tax returns? Then it would be a good idea to file a personal tax extension with the IRS. If you are an Indian in the US who is unsure to file a personal tax extension, we can help you. 

Our easy 8-step guide will walk you through the process on how to file a tax extension in eight easy steps.

But, first things first.

What Is Personal Tax Extension Form 4868?


The deadline to file federal taxes in the United States is April 15. However, many people are unable to meet the deadline due to various reasons. In this scenario, one can fill out Form 4868 to file a personal tax extension. However, you have to submit this form to the IRS (Internal Revenue Services) before the due date. This will let you avail a six months extension till October 17 to file your income tax returns (ITR). 

However, this extension is on filing the ITR and not on the tax payment. You will be required to make the income tax payment by April 15. Failing to do so will attract penalties. Moreover, this form is to be filled by individuals and not by businesses or corporations.

Recommended: Indians in the US must file taxes irrespective of their immigration status – AOTAX.COM

Documents needed:

Form 4868 is available on the IRS website. You will need the following details to complete the form:

  1. Your social security number (and your spouse’s too if filing a joint return)
  2. Address
  3. Estimate of tax liability for the year
  4. Taxes already paid (tax withheld by an employer)
  5. Calculation of deductions and credits

Where to file?

Filing a personal tax extension is easy, free, and convenient. One can file it electronically on the IRS website. Or print a form from the website, fill in the requisite details and mail it to the IRS directly.

How To File A Personal Tax Extension?


Filing a personal tax extension may sound more difficult than it is. But it is convenient if done before the due date. Here is a guide to help you file a personal tax extension:

1. Electronically 

You can use IRS Free-file (IRS Free File | Internal Revenue Service)to file a personal tax extension via form 4868. Once you fill in the required information and make the tax payment, you will receive an acknowledgment from the IRS. Keep it as a record to submit it in October when you file your returns. One can use Free File to file form 4868 if their adjusted gross income is under $73,000 for the last financial year. If your income is above the threshold, opt for the IRS Fillable Forms tool(Free File Fillable Forms | Internal Revenue Service ( to file for a personal extension. Your tax preparer can also help you with it.

2. Mailing A Tax Extension Request 

If you are planning to send your request for a personal tax extension by mail, print form 4868 from the IRS website. You can also get the form from your local post office or the IRS.

Fill in the details, attach your tax payment check, and mail it to the IRS. Snail mail takes time, so rather than waiting until April, do it now.

3. Tax Payment 

Form 4868 buys you more time to file your taxes. However, this does not defer your payment till October. One is required to pay their dues by April 15. Hence, you can pay a portion or all of your taxes online through a debit or credit card, or DirectPay. You can also mail a check or send a money order to the ‘United States Treasury’ along with your form 4868.  

4. Special Tax Payment Extensions 

Certain individuals get an automatic 60 days extension on filing and payment of their ITR. These are citizens or resident aliens of the United States who live outside of the United States or Puerto Rico. They could be serving in the military or on the naval outside of the United States or Puerto Rico.

Similarly, those in the Armed forces working in combat zones in or outside the US also get 180 days tax payment extension. All the above-mentioned individuals should explain the reason for the delay when they file their returns. However, if you owe taxes to the IRS by the due date, be prepared to pay the interest on the amount accrued.

5. Tax Extension Approval 

If you apply for a tax extension online, you will receive confirmation within 24 hours. However, you may need to phone the IRS office to see if your request has been received if you’ve sent it via snail mail. The IRS will usually allow you an extension unless there is a problem with your form. And will not contact you unless there is a problem with your form.Also, you will not be contacted by the IRS if you have filled the form properly.

6. Tax Payment Options 

If you can’t pay your taxes in full by the April deadline, you can choose to pay them in installments. The IRS’s website allows you to select a payment plan.

7. Tax Relief Options 

If you require tax relief due to financial difficulty, you must file Form 843 (Form 843 (Rev. August 2011) ( The same holds if you haven’t paid your taxes in a while or if the IRS has given you incorrect written advice. You can file an appeal if they reject your request.

8. State Tax Extensions 

The above method is applicable for federal tax extensions. Some states offer a six-month automatic personal tax extension, while others do not collect state taxes at all. For more information, get in touch with the appropriate state officials.

It is easier to file a personal tax extension if the preceding steps are followed. Do not, however, use it as an excuse to pay your taxes late. You’ll get in trouble with the IRS and face a penalty if you do.

Recommended: 9 Mistakes to Avoid While Income Tax Filing – AOTAX.COM

Are you still skeptical about filing a personal tax extension yourself? Then we are here to help you out. Use the services of AOTAX to remain on top of your tax deadlines. Over 2 lac Indians have benefited from our team of skilled tax consultants and planners who have helped them submit their US taxes on time.

Extended Timeline For US Tax Filing

Extended Timeline For US Tax Filing

Extended Timeline For US Tax Filing

While the entire world is struggling to combat the effects of the dreadful COVID-19, the US Government has come up with new initiatives to provide some relief to the public who are paying the taxes. The Treasury Department in the US and the IRS have jointly announced last week that the US Government is extending the tax –filing deadline to 15th July 2020. This decision has been taken by the US Government to give the taxpayers extra time to handle their taxes amidst the outbreak of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 outbreak was declared as a National emergency last week by the President of the US. Also, the President had invoked the Stafford Act which gives him the power to mobilize the federal resources. The taxpayers would get an additional period of 90 days for filing their taxes and the IRS will not charge any interest or penalty for this time extension. However, for those taxpayers of the country who have already filed their taxes this year would not be affected in any means by these changes made.

File Tax Sooner If A Refund Is Due

Even though the US Government has extended the timeline, those taxpayers who don’t owe any money to the IRS can consider filing their tax by the original deadline of 15th April 2020. This would be wiser as the taxpayers would be able to collect their refunds sooner. This would be very helpful for those citizens who have already started seeing their economic condition and earnings being affected by the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19. 

Moreover, it is just that the Federal Government has provided this extension in tax filing but different states in the country have formulated different guidelines concerning the tax filing extension. It is advisable for those taxpayers who are planning to delay their federal taxes to understand in detail about the tax filing extension that their State Governments are offering as well.

The Due Date For Tax Filing In Case Of An Extension

There might be some taxpayers who may be concerned about their ability to pay the taxes even by 15th July 2020 due to the loss of a job or other financial issues related to the outbreak of COVID-19. These taxpayers can contact the IRS and discuss their options. The IRS has short-term and long-term payment plans which would help the taxpayers to pay their taxes conveniently. Short-term plans would give taxpayers around 120 days to pay the taxes whereas long-term plans taxes can be paid in installments over several months.

 Earlier, when the tax filing deadline was 15th April and a taxpayer who would get an extension will not have to file his tax returns till October. However, now with the IRS pushing the tax filings date to 15th July 2020, it is quite not sure how long the taxpayers would be able to get if he is filing for an extension. But with the various options made available by the IRS, it is quite sure that taxpayers would have some relief.

Deadline For Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments 

Many people are required to make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS in case of their income not being subject to the taxes of payroll withholding. This estimated tax payment is made by the division of the year into four payment periods with each period having its payment due date. Now, since IRS has extended the timeline for filing the taxes to 15th July 2020 it is quite uncertain that what would be the impacts upon the deadline of quarterly estimated tax payments. 

Some Important Steps To Consider Before The Previous Deadline  

Filing of 2017 tax return 

 If there is a refund due of the year 2017 for a taxpayer and the tax return has not been filed, then it must be filed by 15th April through the Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR to claim the money failing which IRS would keep the money.

 Max out 401(k) by 31st December 2020 

The contributions made towards the traditional 401(K) help in reducing the total taxable income of an individual. Many employers also contribute to the savings made by an individual; so, if there is enough contribution made then there are opportunities to obtain some money as well.

Contribution towards IRA and HSA

 The contributions which are made to an IRA and HSA are eligible for a tax deduction. This contribution must be done by the April deadline every year. Now, even though the tax filing deadline has been extended to 15th July 2020 there have been no announcements made on the deadline for IRA or HSA contributions. So, it is advisable to accomplish this task by the April deadline to avoid any further hassles.



Hence, with the global economy coming to a standstill and numerous lives being affected due to the pandemic COVID-19, this action by the US Government is applauding. This would reduce a lot of pressure on those expecting to owe money to the US Government. However, if there is a refund expected then it must be claimed immediately so that the cash can be utilized during this period of emergency.