Individual Income Tax Extensions FAQ

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The IRS and states offer taxpayers an extension of time to file income tax returns. You, the taxpayer, must request the extension of time to file by the regular due date of your return to avoid a possible penalty for filing late.

An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.


Why should I file an extension?

There are many reasons to file an extension including, but not limited to, missing information needed to complete the return and time to consider proper reporting. Given the tax law changes that took effect in 2018 under the Tax Jobs and Cuts Act, additional analysis and review of filing positions may be warranted. In addition, forthcoming guidance is anticipated. Tax returns are filed under penalties of perjury, so it is important to ensure everything is reported accurately.

Are there any unique benefits for filing an extension?

Yes, in this historic tax year of change, many taxpayers may be able to best position themselves by filing an extension and then filing their tax return in the following weeks. Doing this will allow them to take advantage of the superseding return rules at any time up until the extended due date. A superseding return is essentially a replacement return. It is treated as an original filing and as such has a number of advantages over the filing of an amended tax return, including faster and more efficient processing by the IRS, ability to make or change elections and ability to avoid certain types of penalties. The ability to make use of these rules may place taxpayers in the optimum position to manage risks and take advantage of opportunities that may arise with future guidance.

Does an extension increase my risk of being audited by the IRS?

While no one outside the IRS can say for sure how the audit selection process works, it is safe to say that a tax extension does not trigger an IRS audit.

Does getting an extension give me more time to pay my taxes?

Filing an extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes. Taxes due must be paid no later than the original filing date of the return.

How should I make an extension payment?

There are multiple ways to make an extension payment. Please see the filing instructions provided to you by DHG for specific guidance. For additional information see IRS guidance here.

Should I pay an extension and first quarter estimate at the same time?

Generally, we advise clients to add the extension amount and the first quarter estimate amount together and file the total as the extension payment. Then when there is a resulting refund, apply the overpayment to estimated tax payments in the following year.

Do I have to wait until the extended deadline to file?

No, you may file your tax return at any time prior to the extended filing deadline.

How do I get an extension for my state tax return?

Some states automatically extend your state tax return deadline when you apply for a federal extension. Others require you to file separately for a state extension. Check your action items and filing instructions from DHG to see how this applies to the state(s) in which you file.